City might brighten Main Street lighting
By Bobby Bryant, Editor
The city will try to shed some more light on the area of South Main Street near Wal-Mart after complaints that it’s too dark and dangerous for people crossing the street at night. Alex Gainey, streets and sanitation superintendent for the city of Darlington, told City Council in a Jan. 5 meeting that he was driving down South Main near a convenience store on the corner of Farm Street when he nearly had an accident because of lack of street lighting. “There is lighting out in the road for Main Street, but it’s not real bright,” Gainey said. “A gentleman got out in the median, and right as I got in front of the store, he darted out in front of me and I like to hit him. He had on dark clothes.” Gainey said he called Duke Power and asked what could be done to improve street lights in the area. “You get a lot of foot traffic coming from the Cain Elementary side of (South) Main Street going to that convenience store, especially at night.” Duke told Gainey that the lighting could be boosted, but there might be conflicts with a city ordinance that seeks to keep street lights and other illumination sources from getting too bright. “To me, safety is more important,” Gainey said. “We have several streets right around where I live where it’s totally dark,” council member Elaine Reed said. “ … We need to request to get it lit up in the areas that need it.” City staff will look at the options for more street lighting in areas that appear to need it and report back to council. In other business: — Council approved an audit of its last fiscal year’s finances conducted by the Brittingham Group of West Columbia. The overall audit was “clean,” city manager Howard Garland said, but it cited a $675,000 shortfall in the city’s water and sewer finances. Mayor Curtis Boyd said the fee increases the city approved last year should help correct that. — Darlington Downtown Revitalization Association director Lisa Chalian-Rock told council that three people – Lynda Dove, Ed Howard and Otis Lawhon – will be receiving $100 cash as winners of the DDRA’s Shop Darlington Contest. The contest encouraged residents to shop at five local businesses between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Rock said the 100 people who submitted contest entries purchased more than $11,000 in goods in Darlington. Rock also told council that the DDRA Board has approved $4,000 for façade grants for this year. The grant deadline is the 24th of each month. She also said the DDRA is planning its annual golf tournament this spring, the return of the annual Taste of Darlington and another Scare on the Square for Halloween, if the COVID-19 situation allows. — Chamber of Commerce representative Nancy Matthews told council that the chamber is seeking a new, part-time president to replace former president Harriet Hobbs, and that officials hoped to fill the position by late January. Matthews said the chamber’s annual banquet, which typically is held in February and recognizes people who’ve contributed to the community, might not happen on its normal timetable this year. She said the chamber has a “solid date” – July 3 — for its annual Freedom Fest event, which had to be called off in 2020 because of the pandemic. This year, she said, it will take place on the Public Square rather than at Darlington Raceway. — Council gave a final “yes” vote to an ordinance setting new fees for commercial garbage pickup and recycling. The cost of commercial garbage pickup will go from $28.50 to $45 a month; the commercial garbage recycling container fee will go from zero to $25 a month.