“Charette” to determine town branding

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By David Meade

During their regular monthly meeting Monday, Williamston Town Council entertained funding for several entertainment and tourism related events including the Spring Water Festival, Party in the Park and a branding charette.

The Main Street Williamston branding charette, being planned for April 29 and 30, will be the opportunity for everyone in the town to come together to help create uniform branding which will be used in promoting and marketing the town.

The Greater Williamston Business Association (GWBA), Palmetto Area Arts Council and the Town are partnering in the charette which will also include public input.

Anyone in the community who is interested is invited to attend the Tuesday (Apr. 29) session which will begin at 6 p.m.

Graphics and designs for logos and a tagline will come out of the input received during the charette, according to Main Street Williamston Executive Director Caroline Alex.

“This is where Williamston will see its identity visually and emotionally,” Alex said.

Alex also updated council on the newly established organization which is in the process of organizing and establishing a work plan for the next 12 to 18 months.

Alex said each of the four committees in the organization has met and come up with four to six projects and plans to begin working on. The lists will be presented to the Main Street Board next week, she said.

Volunteers have already contributed 153 hours of service to the organization.

Alex said she will be attending additional training sessions in Columbia and in Detroit Michigan in May.

Later in the meeting Council unanimously approved a request from the Main Street Williamston Program for $7000 to help pay for the branding charette. The GWBA is contributing $2000 and the Palmetto Area Arts Council an additional $500 toward the total cost of $9500.

Funding Requests

In other action, a motion by Councilman Otis Scott to increase funding for entertainment for the Spring Water Festival to $20,000 died after failing to receive a second.

The Springwater Committee requested the additional funding to bring a nationally known entertainer to the festival in August.

After a few moments of silence, Mayor Mack Durham made a motion to fund the festival at $10,000.

Councilman Scott seconded and the motion was approved 4-0. Funding from the town’s hospitality tax is used to provide entertainment during the two day festival.

A request by the GWBA for $6500 for entertainment for three Party in the Park events and the July 4th event failed by a split 2-2 vote. Mayor Durham and Councilman Burgess were in favor while Councilmen Harvell and Scott were opposed. The possible tie breaker, Councilman Tony Hagood was absent due to sickness.

Prior to the vote, Burgess spoke in favor of the events stating, “They meet the purpose of our hospitality tax, getting folks to town that ordinarily would not come,” he said. “It is money well spent.”

Harvell and Scott both questioned why the events could not fund themselves.

Old Business

In other business, Council unanimously approved second reading on a zoning ordinance change allowing fueling stations in highway commercial zoned areas.

Council gave their approval allowing the Williamston Fire Department to establish a Boy Scout Explorer program through the Career and Technology Center. The CTC recently established a firefighting class as part of the curriculum being offered.

Budget Amended

Council approved first reading on a budget ordinance amendment for the 2013-14 budget ending June 30.

The amendments included eleven changes that reflect grants and other funds received and other changes including:

Administrative operations, reduction of police fines, add resource officer, add grant revenue from PRT and PARD, security from the school district office, sold old assests, proceeds from the sale of an old fire truck, $30,000 from county for storm water related issues, grant revenue for Beaverdam meter pit and administrative water and sewer operations.

Committee Reports

Williamton Police Chief Tony Taylor said the first town cleanup held in Ward 1 was successful. Volunteers from New Prospect Church, Palmetto JROTC, the community and councilmembers Tony Hagood, Otis Scott and Rockey Burgess participated.

The second cleanup will be held in Ward 2 this Saturday. The police department is placing yellow reminder doorhanger cards on resident’s doors about each cleanup, Taylor said.

Taylor encouraged anyone who can assist elderly persons with cleanup measures to do so. The cleanup effort will rotate through each ward.

Taylor presented information on tickets and arrests during the month. The police department responded to 601 calls during March, Chief Taylor said.

Councilman Burgess said a draft of the sign ordinance has been presented to the attorney and will be brought before the planning commission next Thursday.

Councilman David Harvell suggested additional lighting at two crosswalks on East Main St.

Council passed a resolution supporting April as Foster Care month.

A certificate of commendation was approved recognizing Gladys Washington Henry who recently celebrated her 110th birthday.

During public comments, Daniel Gamble spoke on a list has has compile of the best things about Williamston and thanked the council for their effort to make the town clean and safe.