Rock Hill’s Old Town Revitalization
Rock Hill Printing and Finishing Company, otherwise known as The Bleachery, once employed 20% of the population of Rock Hill, SC. As with many textiles companies, the end came when all of the work moved out of the country. The Bleachery was then merely an abandoned building separating Winthrop University and the city’s downtown. In 2010, the city began an abatement (to the tune of five million dollars) of the property. The city assumed ownership of the 24-acre property and of the buildings that remained standing on the property. After the property was cleaned up, the city had to decide what to do with it next. Currently, the city is seeking developers and master developers for the Bleachery site. The city seeks high-employment uses and mixed-use developments.
The city needed a central place online to store the piles of pdf’s and information they had on the Bleachery. They needed a doorway to the Bleachery. They needed to present the Bleachery as the huge opportunity that it is. Thus, the city decided it needed a website and Internet marketing for the Bleachery.
The Hive Takes on The Bleachery
The Hive took on the Bleachery project for the Fall 2011 semester. The first order of business was to design and develop a website for the Bleachery.
As we set out to design and develop the Bleachery website, we were given a mountain of content. Piles of documents and pictures. The great challenge was to organize the content, then to understand how it would be presented in the user-interface and navigation of the site.
The Bleachery had no brand, per se. So, we decided to build off of the Old Town brand for color scheme. Beyond that, we liked the idea of bringing together the old and the new. The history of the Bleachery is significant not only in Rock Hill but as a symbol to efforts in redevelopment around the US. Walkable Urbanism is the order of the day, and reclaiming our historic urban centers is a focus many communities share. The new and innovative use of old space is our key to rebirth. We sought to capture that concept in the look and feel of the Bleachery website. The colors speak to new. The imagery speaks to old.
The focal point of the Bleachery project is the map integrated into the home page. The City of Rock Hill did not have a meaningful, public-facing use of their GIS map for marketing the Bleachery, and they wanted to better utilize the technology. In response, we made the dominant experience of the site be an interactive map.
The Bleachery map uses Google Maps and pulls in the GIS map of the city into a blend of sorts. The map creates a content overlay that is an interactive toolbox that displays the most pertinent information from the website.
Using the map’s navigation, the user can shift back and forth among four key areas that a developer of the Bleachery will be surely concerned with: The Bleachery, Downtown, York Technical College, and Winthrop University. In each view, a selected amount of information overlays acorss the map in a visual interactive way. And at anytime the user can drag the map to wherever they want to see and zoom the map. The user can also switch to straight GIS, which is a GIS map controlled by the city and can have on it whatever the city decides to put on it in terms of data (water lines, traffic flows, sewage lines, demographics, etc.).