Events, scout project get council approval

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By David Meade

During their regular monthly meeting Monday, Williamston Town Council approved requests from organizers of two events to use Mineral Spring Park. The events, while separate, will be held on the same weekend.

The Greater Williamston Business Association is planning a “Party in the Park” event for Friday, May 31. The next day, Saturday, June 1, the park will be the center of activities associated with a new event called “ParkFest.”

GWBA president Chris Trotter, said “Party in the Park” will include displays and food vending by GWBA member businesses, inflatables for kids and will feature a popular area country/rock band.

According to organizer Jack Ellenburg, the “ParkFest” event will feature a display of motorcycles by the Defenders organization, displays and recognition of law enforcement, fire and EMS responders and a concert by another regionally known band. There will be barbecue from local vendors and bluegrass music on the banks of Big Creek. There will also be children’s amusement rides.

In other actions, Council unanimously approved a request for funds for an Eagle Scout project in Mineral Spring Park. Scout member J. T. Gentry asked the town to provide funding for a bench, marker and plaque which will be placed at the new gazebo and will honor Kenneth Bearden.

Bearden, who passed away last year, was a founding member of the reorganized Springwater Committee and was active in the Spring Water Festival and other town related activities.

Material costs for the project include a bench, $750; marker, $318 and plaque, $50.

Acting on a motion by Councilman Otis Scott to use Hospitality Tax funds, the town approved $1,200 for the project. The Springwater Committee will provide additional funding for flowers and mulch for the project.

Council also decided to have the Wildfire company present information at the next meeting regarding relocation of a camera to the Gray Drive Park.

Mayor Mack Durham said providing electricity to the camera and a pole to mount it at one of the ballfields was very expensive.

Council approved a motion by Councilman Scott to have the town attorney draw up an ordinance restricting tobacco use at the town’s recreation fields. Councilman Tony Hagood seconded the motion.

Hagood said he was supporting the motion because of a recent encounter he had at a restaurant in which family members of a three year old child were smoking in the child’s presence and not considering the effects on the child’s health.

Council also unanimously approved a resolution in support of improved food access through a local farmers market.

Mayor Durham said there are plans to have a local farmers market as part of a summer series event being planned through the Palmetto Area Economic Development Committee.

Councilmembers then went into executive session to discuss a contract and personnel matters.

When asked by The Journal to be more specific on the reason for the session, Mayor Durham said they were discussing a contract with the operator of the town’s Waste Water Treatment Plant, a property consideration, community planning and personnel.

Upon returning to regular session, no additional information was made public.

Mayor Durham announced there would be a public hearing on the annexation of property on Anderson Drive which will be the site of a Family Dollar store. The hearing will be held on Monday, Apr. 1 at 6 p.m.

Durham also announced that the town has drafted wording for a plaque to be placed at the mineral spring gazebo dedicating it to Dr. Dwight H. Smith. The wording states that Dr. Smith was a dedicated doctor, community servant and friend to all and that he was mindful of the healing properties of the pure spring water.

Durham said he will present it to the Williamston Area Historic Commission for consideration.

The mayor also said that Rep. Anne Thayer has presented paperwork to the state House and Senate to have the National Guard Armory returned to the town. He said it will have to be signed by the Governor. Durham said the property would have been auctioned by the state if the request had not been made.

Durham also said the town has been involved in employee meetings and goal setting. According to the mayor, the meetings have resulted in reduced costs and employee morale has improved.