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Contact: Malik Whitaker

Office: 803 581-2123

Email: mwhitaker [at] ()


South Carolina Department of Commerce grants City of Chester $250,000 to make improvements to the existing outdoor Farmer’s Market Pavilion and the Agribusiness Center.

Chester, South Carolina-City of Chester was recently awarded $250,000 of grant funding under the Growing Rural Communities Grant Competition by the South Carolina Department of Commerce to make improvements to the existing outdoor Farmer’s Market Pavilion and Artisans Market (also known as the Agribusiness Center). 


“The South Carolina Department of Commerce is committed to supporting rural communities and strengthening their economies. This grant program is just one of the many ways we are working to achieve this goal. We believe that by investing in these communities, we can create sustainable growth that benefits everyone”, said Fearn Gupton, Rural Development Manager with the South Carolina Department of Commerce


The total project cost is $302,837. City of Chester has committed $53,000 from America Rescue Plan Act Funds. 


For the Farmer’s Market Pavilion, The City of Chester envisions an inviting outdoor space that fosters local agribusiness, arts, and community interaction. A few of the improvements will include:

  • Brick Veneer / Decorative Finishes to Columns: The pavilion's columns will be adorned with brick veneer and decorative finishes, enhancing the visual appeal and architectural character of the structure.
  • Knee Wall / Guardrail in Rear: A knee wall and guardrail will be constructed at the rear of the pavilion, providing safety, and defining the space while allowing unobstructed views.
  • Furnish and Install Fans: Ceiling fans will be installed to ensure optimal air circulation, creating a comfortable environment for market vendors and visitors.

For the Agribusiness Center, a some of the improvements will include:

  • Flooring Replacement: Upgrade the flooring to provide a more durable and attractive surface for vendors and visitors.
  • Ceiling Insulation and Finishing: Enhance energy efficiency and create a more comfortable environment by insulating and finishing the ceiling.
  • HVAC and Duct Upgrade: Improve the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system along with ductwork to ensure optimal indoor air quality and temperature control.


Improvements to our outdoor Farmers Market Pavilion and Agribusiness Center will support community growth and prosperity, enhance economic development, improve existing City infrastructure, and promote an improved quality of life in the City of Chester.

“Recognizing that our unique attributes are key to our growth, we are committed to harnessing our creativity, fostering community unity, and offering local businesses the essential tools and assistance they need to flourish. We deeply appreciate the SC Department of Commerce’s involvement with the City of Chester in the project identification process for the Growing Rural Communities Grant. This opportunity means a great deal to us, and we're enthusiastic about establishing a lasting partnership with the SC Department of Commerce to facilitate sustained growth within our City.” said Mayor Carlos Williams.


The City of Chester is facing a significant lack of facilities and meeting places that serve as focal points for community engagement and interaction. The absence of physical spaces for community gatherings, events, and cultural activities has resulted in a fragmented sense of community, hindering social cohesion and economic progress. Outside of a few larger churches and low usage parks, the City of Chester has very few facilities and meeting-places to conduct activities that are associated with being a “community” or “village”. Our project will address these challenges by making essential improvements to the outdoor Farmers Market Pavilion and The Agribusiness Center



News Release - Grant