DISCOVER LAMAR: Lamar Mayor’s message

Lamar Mayor James Howell. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Dear Citizens of Lamar:

As your Mayor, it is my pleasure to report on the progress and accomplishments of LAMAR for 2022 and half of 2023.  This has been an exciting, inspiring, and dramatic year and a half for our town, for the surrounding communities, and for me as your new Mayor.  I came aboard just in time to help Lamar celebrate its Sesquicentennial, 150th Anniversary, in 2022.  Lamar was incorporated back in 1872, and it has gone through many changes in this time.  As history often repeats itself, there have been prosperous times and not so prosperous times.  I am honored and rewarded to work with the current Lamar Town Council and Town Administrator as Mayor, and we—the Council, Town Administrator, and I—are happy to report that the state of our Town has constantly grown and your optimism has served as “a paddle to push on.”

At my inauguration as Mayor of Lamar, South Carolina, on December 27, 2021, I committed to work to help revitalize Lamar.   My goals to promote police protection, economic development, and improved infrastructure are ultimate priorities.   

Police protection, perhaps better described as public safety and law enforcement, is a priority that is relevant to the welfare of Lamar.  That’s putting people first, and at this time the Police Department, under the leadership of a quite capable Chief, is concentrating on hiring more officers for safety and protection.  I have committed to give a $2000 award to officers hired full time.  Part-time officers hired are enrolled in the South Carolina Police Academy to earn certification.   Two police vehicles have been acquired, and the Police Department received a grant for $150,000 from the SC Department of Commerce.   In collaboration with citizens, a Neighborhood Watch Program has formed.  

 To have a thriving Town, economic development is critical, also. I have welcomed six new businesses to Lamar in 2022-23.  These include Beehive Hair Salon, CARQUEST, Clover Styles Boutique, Eatz on Main, Mercantile213, and Two Sisters Thrift Shop.  A bakery is expected soon.  I continuously highlight old buildings with potential for new economic development.  These new businesses are joining the already established ones, “beefing up” the need for jobs.  Therefore, employers are hiring employees, citizens are shopping, and visitors are seeking deals.  New citizens and prospective citizens are contacting Town Hall to locate housing.   I highly support this win-win situation–the Town is being revitalized one business at a time.  

It is imperative that the Town’s infrastructure be brought up-to-date—streets paved, worn-out sidewalks replaced, building fronts and awnings refurbished, water and sewer problems addressed, service equipment purchased, and much more.  As you know, SCDOT has paved Main Street and repaired the sidewalks recently.  I am dealing with ordinances, water breaks, water bills, dilapidated buildings, and other problems from day-to-day.  Also, through a grant initiated by the former administration, the Zion Road Pump Station is being rehabbed, and a grant has been written by the present administration to rehab the Railroad Pump Station.  Grants must fill the big bills.  During the past one and one half years, Lamar has received a grant to conduct a Storm Water Master Plan.  Another grant, a Sanitary Sewer Evaluation Survey Grant, again initiated by the former administration, was completed during 2022. Various other grants have included one to buy equipment and tools and another was received for outstanding commitment in safety and loss experience.   

This Town has progressed since the beginning of 2022.  The Police Department, our economic development, and our infrastructure needs and accomplishments have been met with awareness and determination to succeed by YOU—the Town’s citizens, our Town Council, the Town Administrator, and your Mayor.  

What can I predict for the future?  The future will take all of us working together to continue to make strides for our Town.  We must embrace change, continue to prioritize, and look to each other for answers and solutions to everyday and long term problems.  Our future is in our hands.  You have heard me state that Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” I am a dreamer!  I love Lamar and I believe we can be and do what we want to be and do.  I am proud to be your Mayor, and I am proud of who we are—a Little Town with a Big Vision.


Mayor James Howell

Author: Stephan Drew

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