GWBA, police department partner on text alert system

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By David Meade

During their February meeting Tuesday, members of the Greater Williamston Business Association (GWBA) heard an update on a phone text and email alert system, their membership drive and other town related information. The meeting was held at Jim Simpson’s classic car display showroom next to Ace Hardware in Williamston. Southern Smoke Barbecue catered the lunch meeting. The organization has gained seven new members since they began a membership drive which will run through Mar. 31.

Membership Chairman Robin Tucker (First Citizens) said if everyone who was a member last year renews and with the new members, membership will stand at 71.

The committee is working on a membership packet that will include information about the organization, new window decals and other items.

The GWBA Easter Egg Hunt promotion will be held on Sat. Apr. 20. Rain date will be the following Saturday. Additional details will be announced closer to the event. Kelly Bowman of K&M Dance House will head the promotion committee for the event.

Williamston Police Captain Kevin Marsee updated the group on the Nixle phone text alert system.

Nixle provides innovative technology which uses real time messaging for public alerting and private messaging.

The free communication system will allow the Williamston Police Department to connect with businesses and residents.

Marsee said it is important for the police department to communicate with local businesses in the community.

Business owners who sign up for the service could receive three types of alert messages from the Williamston Police Department.

According to Marsee that could be an Alert, an Advisory or Community Information.

“The Nixle system is a very beneficial way for us to communicate with our businesses and for getting information out,” Capt. Marsee said.

While the GWBA is partnering with the Williamston Police Department to initially get the alert system started, the service is available to the public too, Marsee said. It is a free service, however there are upgrades which can be purchased from the company, he said.

Anyone in the 29697 zipcode who is interested in receiving the locat alerts can signup on the Nixel website at www.nixle.com using the Williamston zipcode.

GWBA members accepted information on changes to their constitution which better reflects what the organization does. Excess wording was taken out and minor changes made, GWBA President Chris Trotter (Beam Central Vac) said. The changes will be voted on at the March meeting, according to Trotter.

The GWBA is planning a meeting with the Palmetto Area Economic Development (PAED) group and Anderson County Economic Development representatives to provide information on a variety of topics related to business development. The meeting is also being coordinated as part of Williamston’s new Main St. program.

All area businesses are encouraged to attend the meeting which will be held sometime in March.

Williamston Mayor Mack Durham updated the group on a variety of town related projects including a PRT trails grant, Easter Saturday Gospel event, a film studio, the Thrive program at Palmetto Middle School, an initiative with Clemson University involving aquaphonics, safe routes to school and sidewalks and a GPAS grant for a walking and cycling master plan the town is applying for.

The Mayor said the town is “Creating an environment downtown that is very positive.”

Williamston Main St. Executive Director Caroline Alex gave a brief update on the Main St. program she is heading.

Alex said the group is staffing committees and will hold training sessions with state directors in March. They expect to have work plans in place soon, she said.

Committee members were scheduled to meet with the Executive Board Tuesday.

Alex said she is still meeting with business people throughout the town.

Any local business person interested in being a part of the Greater Williamston Business Association is invited to join.

The organization meets on the third Tuesday of each month, usually at a member restaurant location. The next meeting will be Mar. 17 at a location to be announced.

Additional information on the GWBA can be found at their website at www.gwba.info.