Darlington gets arty for Adopt a Hydrant program

Steele McCain Baker, son of Jake and Amy Baker, paints a fire hydrant. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

By Samantha Lyles


Eye-catching little art projects are popping up all over Darlington lately as citizens take part in a public works improvement project/art contest to see who can best beautify that stalwart supplier of emergency H20 – the fire hydrant. While the Darlington Fire Department and Water and Sewer Department handle the annual flushing out and flow testing to ensure the hydrants are in good order, maintaining their appearance is a more sporadic task. Since repainting over 300 fire hydrants is an expensive and time-consuming job, DFD Chief Pat Cavanaugh says most hydrants get a fresh coat of paint only once every five to 10 years. That’s a long time to live with just one outfit, even when paired with their snazzy reflective bands that make them easier to spot at night. This is why the city opted to try the Adopt a Hydrant program, where citizens are invited to use their creativity and give these unsung heroes a fresh look. “If you have a hydrant near your property, you can volunteer to paint it – as long as it doesn’t look too crazy – to show pride in your yard and pride in the city,” says Cavanaugh. Darlington Mayor Curtis Boyd has added an extra incentive to lift those paint projects to the next level: If your hydrant is judged exceptionally creative, fun, or beautiful, you could win a $100 gift card. With over 40 hydrants painted so far, the project is gaining some traction. Folks have painted hydrants to look like everything from baseballs to puppies to the Tin Man from “The Wizard of Oz.” “All we ask is that you use good judgment when choosing what you’re going to paint. If there’s a hydrant in front of your neighbor’s house and they pull for Clemson, don’t go over there and paint it with Gamecock colors,” says Cavanaugh. Guidelines for Adopt a Hydrant participants are provided by DFD to ensure everyone colors inside the lines and doesn’t harm the functionality of the hydrants. To learn more about Boyd’s Adopt a Hydrant art contest, visit his Facebook page. DFD Hydrant Painting Guidelines: • Use a latex-based paint. • PLEASE DO NOT paint the bulk of the hydrant or caps BLACK. The color BLACK represents a hydrant that is out of service and needs to be repaired. • If a hydrant has a bag on it DO NOT REMOVE IT; this is done to mark the hydrant out of service for repairs. • The BLUE bands may be removed to paint but the DFD asks you place them back in the same spot they were located. The reflective bands help to identify the hydrant at night. • Please make sure the hydrant DOES NOT blend in with the surroundings. It must be visible in both the daylight and nighttime. • Please clean the hydrant with a brush BEFORE painting. • Avoid planting flowers or shrubbery around the hydrant so it will remain visible at all times. • The goal of this project is to make our town more inviting and to help clean it up, so HAVE FUN and include family. • If you have any questions and need assistance, contact the Darlington Fire Department at (843) 398-4013.

Author: Stephan Drew

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