Beaufort celebrates Duke Street makeover

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The ribbon was cut last week to celebrate a Duke Street project that involved painting three public housing duplexes, landscaping, a pocket park and two colorful murals.

Duke Street’s new look was celebrated last week as city leaders and community members showcased a grassroots partnership to brighten downtown Beaufort.

Volunteers were recognized at a June 6 ribbon-cutting for contributing hundreds of hours to the project as part of the Beaufort Redevelopment Commission’s Street by Street initiative.

The work began almost a year ago through a partnership between the city, Beaufort Housing Authority, Clemson Extension and Lowcountry Master Gardeners.

The work involved painting three public housing duplexes — one of which includes a police department substation — landscaping with native plants, a pocket park at the site of a former a parking lot and two colorful murals.

“This is an exceptional example of what can happen when we join hands,” City Manager Bill Prokop said. “Now we have a visible and viable showcase of the Street by Street project and we look forward to expanding it to other key areas.”

Residents, neighbors, master gardeners, Cub Scouts, city staff and elected officials took part in the process. Materials and services were donated by local businesses, organizations and residents.

Planning and design began in May 2016 and hands-on work began in late August.

The Street by Street Infill Initiative, focused on part of Duke Street from July 1, 2016 to Dec. 31, 2017, includes incentives for owners to improve their properties and build on vacant lots.

On July 1 the project will expand to Washington Street, with some continuation of Duke Street work until the end of the year.

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Plans are to focus on a new street each year in the area between Carteret Street and Ribaut Road to re-energize the neighborhoods, said Deborah Johnson, who works with the redevelopment commission on the initiative.

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Beaufort City Councilman Stephen Murray and Mayor Billy Keyserling joined in the Duke Street ribbon-cutting event.

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