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Groundbreaking for new visitors center Tuesday
Visitors Center Model (Web)
A model of the Revolutionary War Visitors Center at Camden, to be built on city-owned property near Historic Camden Revolutionary War Site. Broad Street runs along the left edge of the model. The building closest to Broad Street will serve as a visitors and exhibit center; the small building at far right is planned as an open-air market; and the larger building (back left) will be used by Central Carolina Technical College. Groundbreaking is set for 2 p.m. Tuesday. (C-I file photo)

A groundbreaking ceremony for the new Revolutionary War Visitors Center at Camden -- formerly referred to as the Camden-Kershaw County Visitors Center -- will take place at 2 p.m. Tuesday on a portion of land deeded to the city of Camden in 2018 by the Historic Camden Foundation on South Broad Street.

The new center will be built south of Historic Camden Revolutionary War Site and across the street from a new assisted living/memory care center that is under construction. It is a collaborative project whose participants include the city of Camden, Kershaw County, Central Carolina Technical College (CCTC), Historic Camden, S.C. Department of Parks Recreation and Tourism, the state of South Carolina and the U.S. National Park Service.

The Revolutionary War Visitors Center at Camden will be comprised of three buildings:

• Main visitors building -- To be focused on Native American, African American, and South Carolina Backcountry history during the American Revolutionary War, and tying into and promoting Camden and Kershaw County as an anchor for the Liberty Trail. It will be modeled after the “Old Tavern,” a pre-Revolutionary War inn built in the 1770s.

• Educational building -- To be primarily used by CCTC staff and students, with fully-functioning kitchen, classrooms, meeting space and more, that can also be used as a tour and seminar facility. CCTC is reportedly planning to introduce an entrepreneurship program at the site.

• Open-air market -- modeled after one that once stood at the foot of the Clock Tower when it stood across from the Robert Mills Courthouse as a two-story building with no second floor. It could be used for a variety of purposes, primarily by local residents and organizations.

Representatives from the participating organizations formally announced plans to build the visitors center in late February during a ceremony at the site. The goal: Create a regional visitors center that will send people out from Camden into the county and beyond to learn more about the story of the Revolutionary War, the area’s role in it, and the retail, entertainment, and other tourism offerings in the city and county.

Officials had originally hoped to break ground during the spring and to have the facility completed by the end of the year or early 2020.