By David Meade
“We are trying to build on what we’ve got.” That is what Williamston Mayor Mack Durham said this week while reflecting on changes made during his first year in office and preparing for the second.
Under a new vision for the town and eagerness and support from the community, the town has seen the start up of an arts center, a farmers market, a music series event and will soon see the beginning of a trails system.
The town recently received a $100,000 PRT grant, the first in Anderson County, for construction of a multi use trail. The funds will be used for a 3000 ft. trail beginning at the Veterans Park, extending along Big Creek toward the schools and ending behind the town’s maintenance sheds off Minor St. Construction on the Mineral Spring Trail should begin in July.
There are also plans to tie in a trail system with the Anderson County Blue Trail on the Saluda River and possibly a connection to Anderson City, the mayor said.
The town recently made improvements to the Amphitheater in Mineral Spring Park, expanding the stage and providing a concrete pad “dance area” in front of it. The Gist Rifle Memorial has also been relocated. The improvements help make the area more usable for larger events that are now being held in the park including The Greater Williamston Business Association (GWBA) Party in the Park music series and expanded entertainment at the Spring Water Festival.
“We are also working to improve the park and plan to do some work at Brookdale park,” the Mayor said.
Durham said the town has applied for a $130,000 ARC grant to upfit the depot building and make it more usable.
The new Main Street Williamston program has also brought a renewed enthusiasm to the town. The program is designed to stimulate economic development and revitalization of the town.
The town recently approved an icon and logos that will be used in marketing and branding a renewed Williamston. There is a new destination logo for “Historic Williamston” and a new slogan for the town, “Spring to Life.” The designs are now available on a T-Shirt which is available at events and town hall for $10. The images will soon begin appearing on street banners and other materials.
“I think we have things in place to grow, “ the Mayor said. “I think Williamston is poised for growth and we’re trying to do everything we can to prepare for it.”
Durham cited the announcement that Duke Energy will be making major improvements at Lee Steam, bringing a host of workers to the area, as another indicator the area is on the verge of seeing economic activity and possible growth.