Brewery will open in downtown Sumter in 2018

A look ahead to what else the next year will bring

BY KAYLA ROBINS
kayla@theitem.com
Posted 12/31/17

Belly up, beer lovers of Sumter. Get your New Year's resolutions out of the way early because, starting sometime in 2018, a brewery is scheduled to open downtown.

The city cannot yet disclose the name or owner of the brewery, Downtown Development …

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Brewery will open in downtown Sumter in 2018

A look ahead to what else the next year will bring

Posted

Belly up, beer lovers of Sumter. Get your New Year's resolutions out of the way early because, starting sometime in 2018, a brewery is scheduled to open downtown.

The city cannot yet disclose the name or owner of the brewery, Downtown Development Coordinator Leigh Newman said, but she did say it is slated to take up residence on Liberty Street by "someone local."

While reviewing another year in the books often results in headline after headline of doom and gloom - according to online clicks - there are plenty of positives Sumter County can look forward to in 2018.

National headlines claim holiday sales were up this year and that people are continuing the upward trend of getting out and spending money, and that is a good sign for development in downtown Sumter.

North Main Street will add at least two brand-new restaurants in 2018 and a new location for an already-established fine-dining eatery, according to Newman.

Hamptons, currently serving at 4 W. Hampton Ave., will move to 33 N. Main St. next year, neighboring and sharing a chef with the soon-to-be-fully-open La Piazza - the venue is already available as an event rental.

Danielle Thompson, who owns both restaurants, previously told The Sumter Item the goal is to eventually open a Tex-Mex restaurant where Hamptons now is, though an estimated opening date and a finalized cuisine is not in the books.

Restaurants may be the poster child of exciting development, but there are buildings being built all over downtown scheduled for completion in 2018.

"The municipal parking garage will be completed," Newman said. "The Economic Development building is scheduled to open in February 2018."

Possibly the most visible project downtown is the Hyatt Place Hotel going in on North Main Street, which Newman said is on track to open in March.

She said the bottom floor of 119 N. Main St. - the old Naomi and Warner building on the corner of North Main and Law Range - will continue being developed into a "retail shop, a coffee shop and office space."

The corner of Harvin and Bartlette streets will see ground broken on a new water department building in 2018, too.

"There are other projects for downtown Sumter in the pipeline for 2018, with details to come," Newman said.

Popular events will continue to draw residents and visitors downtown, Newman said, including the Fourth Fridays Concert Series, the Downtown Market, the Microbrew Festival, Derby Day, Sip and Stroll and Oktoberfest, to name a few of many.

Expanding beyond downtown, creating more connections between the business community and public education will be a focus for Greater Sumter Chamber of Commerce, said Chris Hardy, president of the group.

"We're working on a long-term strategic plan that we're going to present at our retreat in February when we go to Greenville," Hardy said. "It's really going to be focused on the seven divisions of the Chamber and our overall body of work."

He said a large focus will be "building additional relationships" between schools and businesses, especially "workforce development issues between local industry and manufacturing, and Shaw [Air Force Base] is part of that."

Creating and expanding programs to help small businesses will be a priority in 2018, too, he said.

"We're going to be looking at a lot of changes in 2018 between programs and ... our long-term strategic plan," he said.

Hardy said he could not comment on specific Economic Development projects.

Workforce development programs are not the only educational realm being looked at come 2018.

Though Sumter School District officials could not be reached for comment because of the winter holiday break, the most recent notable decision that will carry into 2018 was the Board of Trustees' vote in early December to keep Debbie Hamm on as interim superintendent for another year.

School officials have credited Hamm for starting to lead the district out of a financial crisis and develop programs and initiatives to increase student achievement.

"I'm really interested in what we are doing in the district," Hamm said earlier in December. "I feel like things are moving ahead, and I'm glad to be a part of it for another year."

Roadways must be maintained and improved to enable residents to get to any of these new attractions and programs.

Funds collected from a 2014 voter-approved penny sales tax referendum are being used to build a new public safety complex. The new 36,000-square-foot Sumter Police Department headquarters and 21,600-square-foot, four-bay garage Sumter Fire Department headquarters should be completed by the end of the first quarter of 2018, and Sumter County Public Works Director Eddie Newman has previously told The Sumter Item that 18 miles of dirt roads are in the process of being paved to allow for better accessibility for emergency vehicles.

SIDEBAR

Updating Beau Graham Square

The water display on the corner of North Main and East Liberty streets is getting a facelift.

Thanks to the family that owns the area, the Grahams, the concrete around the water feature will be replaced with Pennsylvania blue stone and matching brick, and concrete around East Liberty will be replaced with brick sidewalk matching the designs along North Main.

"[And they are] adding a planter below the waterfall that will catch excess water as well as beautify the space with greenery and reconfiguring the plantings on the side and the front of the fountain," Sumter Downtown Development Coordinator Leigh Newman said.

The downtown corner was dedicated in 2003 to Beau Graham, Sumter mayor from 1964-72 and a city councilman credited with helping develop downtown Sumter.

- Adrienne Sarvis and Kayla Robins