City’s recreation plans moving ahead
By Bobby Bryant, Editor
The city’s plans for walking trails and a recreation complex in Darlington – launched last month under new Mayor Curtis Boyd – took another step forward at City Council’s Feb. 11 meeting.
Last month, council agreed to enter into an option with landowner Olin B. Kirven to buy 116 acres of land off the Harry Byrd Highway for $600,000 – land to be used as the nucleus of what Recreation Director Lee Andrews calls a “recreational complex” for the city.
Council’s agenda for last week still referred to this as land for “ballfields.” New softball and baseball fields will be part of the project, but if the city’s hopes work out, it will be much more than that, over time.
Last week, City Council gave initial approval to an ordinance allowing the city to purchase the Kirven land for the agreed-upon price (the money is to come from a previous bond issue). One more vote is needed to make the deal final. Council amended the plan to address concerns Councilman John Milling had over annexation options.
Council returned its attention to another recreation issue first addressed last month — a plan for the first phase of a system of walking trails around Darlington – a system that ultimately would encompass basically the entire city. Council wanted to see more bids for what the first phase would cost.
Those bids have been coming in, council was told last week. They ranged from a low of about $10,000 to a high of about $33,000. That company’s bid specified that the trail would run from the intersection of Fountain and Hewitt streets to Cashua Street at the voter-registration office.
Boyd said council agreed to the mid-range bid of about $17,000, but trimmed it to $8,650 by dropping some unneeded work. Work on the first phase of the trail should begin as soon as possible, the mayor said.
In other business at last week’s council meeting:
Jannie Lathan, a consultant for the city and ally of former Mayor Gloria Hines, took the podium to criticize Boyd for comments that she said he made about U.S. Rep. Jim Clyburn on Facebook.
It wasn’t completely clear what was at issue during the meeting, but Boyd said later that he had criticized Clyburn on the congressman’s Facebook page for a photo showing Clyburn appearing to be asleep during President Trump’s State of the Union address.
Boyd said he felt it was not respectful to the president or others attending the annual address.
Lathan asked that Boyd apologize.
Councilman Milling told Lathan that council had earlier agreed that citizens could not use the comment period for “personal attacks” (although that plan never got a final vote because then-Mayor Hines withdrew it at the last minute). Lathan said she didn’t consider this a personal attack, just a request for an apology.
Boyd didn’t respond to Lathan’s comments during the meeting.
Later, he said, “I voiced my opinion and she voiced her opinion.”
Also last week, council accepted Milling’s motion that the city name its municipal courtroom at City Hall for Dan Causey, the longtime city judge who died in January.