Projects, events being planned in Williamston

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By David Meade

The Town of Williamston will see several new projects undertaken in the near future including honoring Martin Luther King Jr., an Eagle Scout project in Mineral Spring Park and an upcoming festival event.

During their meeting Monday, Williamston Town Council heard reports from several committees that are looking at issues for the town including the MLK, Jr. designation on Greenville Dr. and what to do about open fire pits in the town.

Councilman Tony Hagood reported that members of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial project had recently met and decided on the specs and location for signs that will designate a portion of Greenville Drive in recognition of the Civil Rights leader.

Hagood said that the sign will be 2 ft. x 6 ft. standard SCDOT green signs with six inch lettering. Signs will be placed near the town limit sign on Hwy. 20 entering from Pelzer and on the curve on East Main St., across from BB&T bank. There will be smaller signs placed on each side of Greenville Drive he said. Hagood said the consensus is for Phase 1 of the project and that Phase 2 will require additional time and footwork for the committee.

Council also approved a proclamation designating February as Black History Month in Williamston. Members of the MLK memorial project were presented copies of the proclamation.

Williamston Fire Chief Steve Ellison reported on findings of a committee appointed to look at the town’s ordinances in relation to fire pits.

Ellison said the committee needed additional time to look at the ordinances because they were written in 1960 and had not been updated since.

The town’s ordinance prohibits any burning in town limits and does not allow for designated fire pits that have become popular for property owners in recent years.

Ellison said the committee will be looking at ordinances of Belton and Honea Path and make recommendations on updating the town’s ordinance.

Boy Scout J. T. Gentry asked the town to allow him to do an Eagle Scout project in honor of Ken Bearden that will include a bench, shrubbery and plaque to be located at the new gazebo in Mineral Spring Park. Gentry is a member of Tropp 356 which meets at Whitefield Baptist Church. Gentry said that the Springwater Committee will help with some of the funding for the project and he asked the town to help also. He will provide cost estimates when they are available.

Mayor Durham said it is “a very worthy and interesting project for the town.”

W. L. Cantrell reported that the Pig in the Park Barbecue Cookoff and festival will be held May 17 and 18. He thanked the town for their support for the event which is sponsored by the Williamston Masonic Lodge.

Marney Schwartz-Hanley presented information on Community Stop Gaps, an organization that provides support and help with social services for the community. Schwartz-Hanley said the volunteer organization helps persons who need assistance to connect with available resources.

She started the program in 2010 with an “urge to help out neighbors in need.” Schwartz-Hanley said that since she came to the area in 1996, the mills went from operating three shifts to closing, leaving many in the community with needs.

She offered her help from the Chapman House in West Pelzer for about 18 months until the family decided to return to the residence. Schwartz-Hanley said there are needs for basic items including toothpaste, soap, shampoo and other toiletries as well as volunteers and mentors. She said they are also in need of financial support. Schwartz-Hanley said she is currently in school to learn how to prepare and submit grants. Community Stop Gaps is located at 900 Greenville Dr., in Williamston or for information call 864-906-7660.