County plans Society Hill recreation ramp-up

By Samantha Lyles, Staff Writer,

Darlington County Recreation is planning to revitalize parks usage and sports activities in the Society Hill and Dovesville area by relocating a full-time rec department program director from Hartsville.

At their July 6 regular meeting, Darlington County Council discussed this matter, though council was not of one mind on relocating Hartsville’s program director John Wall from his current post to further develop Lake Darpo and perhaps establish basketball and baseball/softball programs for rural residents.

Darlington County Council members Le Flowers, right, and Wilhelmina Johnson.		     Photo by Samantha Lyles

Darlington County Council members Le Flowers, right, and Wilhelmina Johnson. Photo by Samantha Lyles

“I’m all for promoting recreation in Dovesville and Society Hill,” said council member David Coker. “I just want my concerns to be on record that we’re taking an asset from Hartsville… and moving him to that area. I feel like he could do both from the Hartsville office.”

Coker cited Hartsville’s much larger population as factor for consideration, but council member Le Flowers noted that the combined rural population in that underserved northern area of Darlington County totals about 7,200. U.S. Census data lists Hartsville’s 2013 population at about 7,900.

Flowers added that during his years of coaching recreation sports, he did not have players from areas like Society Hill, Dovesville, or Byrdtown due to lack of transportation.

“We had a lot of kids that did not get to participate because of transportation issues,” said Flowers. He later called the move “a fantastic opportunity to return services to a much-needed area of our county.”

County administrator Terence Arrington said that rec department employees can be retasked from one community to another when programs need additional staff, and said this move could be reevaluated after about six months.

In other matters, council approved a bid contract of $310,793 for low bidder C.R. Jackson to pave six county roads: Lotus Circle, Tomac Road, Country Side Drive, Canyon Drive, Whitehall Lane, and Whitesands Drive. Funding for this project is provided through CTC (County Transportation Committee) Pin # CPO 27750. Base for the paving project will be prepared by the Darlington County Roads and Bridges department.

Two ordinances passed public hearings and final readings:

No. 15-22 authorizes the Darlington County Board of Elections and Registration to conduct municipal elections for the Town of Society Hill.

No. 15-20 establishes a fee schedule for various county services, including EMS response charges ranging from $350 for Basic Life Support Emergency to $750 for Advanced Life Support. The schedule also outlines several fees and charges for Environmental Services dumping, including $200 per load for construction material (private or commercial), E-Waste fee of $50.75 per ton for commercial users, and $38.50 per ton for yard debris (excluding municipalities and SCDOT).

During citizen’s comments, Smiley Capers reiterated the need for road maintenance of Lide Springs Road. Located in the Mechanicsville community, the dirt section of Lide Springs referenced by Capers is considered a private road by the county and therefore not eligible for assistance, despite the many deep potholes that render it almost inaccessible to emergency vehicles. Capers said he plans to move home to Lide Springs Road later this year and will revisit this issue with council until a solution is found.

Author: Duane Childers

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