This South Carolina city’s first African-American mayor is leading its revitalization

The tiny city of Inman, South Carolina (pop. 2321 as of 2010), is close to the Spartanburg-Greenville-Asheville metroplex.

Inman residents have access to nearby Lake Bowen for water sports and fishing, and to Interstate 26 and Interstate 85 for connectivity to the region.

The city contains a historic main street district which has seen significant revitalization in recent years, thanks in large part to a local leader who was told he could never hold office.

Mayor Huff with Andrew Bell, who was named an Outstanding Citizen.

Inman’s mayor, Cornelius Huff, grew up in this small Spartanburg County mill town during a time when skin color determined whether he could use the front door or the back alley entrance of a downtown business.

As an African-American, walking down Main Street also wasn’t an option. At 16 or 17 years old, Huff remembers being told there’d never be a black person in leadership in his city.

That was a statement that was made and that stuck with me,” Huff says.

All of that has since changed.

Huff not only became Inman’s first African-American City Council member, but after 12 years in that role was sworn in as mayor in July 2014.

The city has been undergoing enormous physical revitalization under Huff’s leadership, including the revamp of Leroy Mathis Park and the Inman Mills multifamily project.

There’s also the new Mill to Main greenway initiative, streetscaping, library renovations, and numerous vacant downtown storefronts ready for restaurant and retail tenants.

All photos courtesy of the City of Inman.

See full article by Ariel Turner in Upstate Business Journal.

See City of Inman website.

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