Council seeks ways to market its plans for a better Hartsville
By Bobby Bryant, Editor
The City of Hartsville is developing a strategic plan for its future, but one of the issues still to be resolved is: How should they sell it? Coming up with ways to market the city’s plans dominated a Feb. 16 council work session, which was conducted online because of COVID-19 risks. “You may not end up with (only) one marketing piece,” said Mayor Mel Pennington. “ … You may find you have multiple marketing pieces.” Pennington already knows the one thing he wants to avoid. “I mean, the worst thing in the world (in terms of marketing) is the STOP IN HARTSVILLE brochure that’s sitting in the rest stop outside of Camden or something, right?” The strategic plan and the marketing are two different issues, council members suggested. Some suggested that the plan might be more of an internal working document, not so much a blueprint for a marketing campaign. Among the issues the city wants to focus on are housing, the Canal District redevelopment, local business and emerging from the pandemic. “How we get to these is kind of a continuing discussion,” Pennington said. Council member Bryson Caldwell said: “Addressing (the) 2021 (goal) to ‘shop local in Hartsville,’ could we maybe reword something there that kind of says, ‘Expand Main Street’? I think the Main Street vision is appealing to business owners down the 5th Street corridor as well.” “Maybe let’s market it in that sense to encourage more local engagement from those business owners as well,” Caldwell added. Council member Teresa Mack said the city needs to find ways to help residents understand what’s involved in goals such as keeping the city cleaner. She mentioned “white elephants” – appliances, big pieces of furniture – that some people leave on the sidewalk, assuming someone will pick it up at no charge. “Those items have to be paid for to get picked up,” she said. “I saw a church that actually had some commodes beside the curb,” Mack said. She said people “do what they see done. They don’t necessarily know the proper way to do it.” She suggested a “media blitz” to explain the city’s rules and policies on cleanup issues.