RR Corner development scenarios focus on preserving, revitalizing

Nov 16, 2021

Claflin University students are encouraged to help plan the future of Orangeburg in the redevelopment of Railroad Corner.

On Nov. 15, the Development Finance Initiative (DFI) spoke to Claflin students about upcoming plans for the redevelopment of Railroad Corner. The DFI is UNC Chapel Hill’s School of Government program that advises communities to attract private investment for local transformative projects. They have been working with the city to draft development scenarios for the site. The information session took place at the Monday Meltdown on Panther Plaza.

“We’ve heard over and over that there is nothing to do in Orangeburg,” said Sonia Turner, DFI project manager.

The City of Orangeburg and the DFI hope to make Railroad Corner an attractive and welcoming gateway between the campuses and downtown.

Potential attractions would include ground-floor retail, upper-story apartments, and a cultural space that houses an African American civil rights museum.

Railroad Corner is located between Orangeburg’s downtown core and two universities, Claflin and South Carolina State.

Railroad Corner includes 11 parcels covering 1.25 acres. It is bounded by Russell Street to the South and Boulevard Street and Magnolia Street to the east, with two parcels located across Treadwell Street to the west. There are eight buildings currently located on the site parcels, many of which are vacant or distressed.

The area used to be one of three historically Black business corridors in Orangeburg. “It was the mecca for Black-owned businesses for many decades,” said Dr. Barbara Williams Jenkins, Dr. Barbara Williams Jenkins, emeritus dean and professor of the Miller F. Whitaker Library at South Carolina State University.

The city now owns most of the properties.

Public input sessions were held on Monday, Nov. 15, at 6 p.m. and Tuesday, Nov. 16, at 9 a.m. so that the community can see what’s being proposed and provide feedback on it.

Students were encouraged to share their input on what they would like to see be developed in that area. “Your voice matters,” Turner said.

For more information visit https://www.orangeburg.sc.us/railroadcorner.

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