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Thirteen cities and towns, ranging in population from 200 to 17,000, have received a Hometown Economic Development Grant from the Municipal Association of South Carolina. The grants support economic development projects that will make a positive impact on the quality of life in their communities. The grant program also promotes and recognizes innovation in economic development practices.

Bamberg, Batesburg-Leesville, Blacksburg, Brunson, Central, Conway, Gifford, Orangeburg, Laurens, Lowrys, Moncks Corner, Richburg and Saluda are this year's grant recipients. Each municipality will receive up to $25,000 to implement projects ranging from community master plans and business incubators to downtown façade grants and feasibility studies. Get details on each city's project.

The Municipal Association board of directors created the program in 2016 to fund projects that will produce measurable results, that can be maintained over time and illustrate best practices that can be replicated in other cities. A total of 31 cities have received grants since the program started.

Cities and towns receiving the grants must provide matching funds. Matching amounts, determined by a city's population, range from 5 percent to 15 percent of the grant award. Cities can use in-kind contributions or other grant funds as their match. Sixty-eight municipalities applied for the grants.

An awards committee of former and current local government and state agency professionals evaluated the grant applications. Cities and towns receiving a grant must submit reports about the progress and successes of each grant-funded project and provide financial details of how the grant funds were used.

"These grants will help our cities and towns continue to strengthen their economic development efforts to attract and retain businesses in their downtowns and neighborhoods," said Wayne George, executive director of the Municipal Association.

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