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24 rural areas in SC receive combined $10 million

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) -- South Carolina's economic development agency has awarded $10 million for water and sewer upgrades in 24 rural communities.

The community development block grants announced this week by the state Commerce Department range from less than $153,000 to $500,000. Five municipalities or counties received that top amount for local projects: Calhoun and Greenwood counties, and the towns of Lyman, Ninety-Six and Pageland.

Commerce officials say about 12,000 residents will benefit.

Secretary Bobby Hitt says the program improves residents' quality of life while helping recruit businesses to rural areas that lack infrastructure.

Recipients must provide at least a 10 percent funding match. Nearly two-thirds of the benefiting residents live in low- to moderate-income communities.

The grant money is provided by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.