Hartsville City Council hears building update on Center Theater, passes ordinances and proclamations

Members of the Hartsville City Council stand and take the Pledge of Civility. PHOTO BY STEPHAN DREW

By Stephan Drew, Editor


It was an evening of proclamations and updates for the Hartsville City Council on Tuesday, April 11, 2023. Mayor Casey Hancock presented 9 such decrees during the regular monthly meeting. April has been designated as Child Abuse Prevention Month, Autism Awareness Month, Fair Housing Month, Sexual Assault Awareness Month and Donate Life Month. April 1st through 7th was designated to be Children’s Museum Week and May has been designated as Mental Health Awareness Month. 

Pee Dee Coalition is a non-profit volunteer organization dedicated to the reduction of sexual assault, family violence, and child abuse and to the needs of its victims. Pam Johnson and Pamela Prince, representatives from Pee Dee Coalition, were on hand to accept the proclamations for Sexual Assault Awareness Month and Child Abuse Prevention Month.

The first week of May (April 30 – May 6) is the 54th Municipal Clerk’s Week.  Mayor Hancock took great pride in presenting all of the proclamations and, when he presented the decree proclaiming Municipal Clerk’s Week, he gave thanks and praise to Hartsville City Clerk Sherron Skipper and Deputy City Clerk Andrea Crenshaw.  “They help me hold my life together,” Hancock stated.

Ben Gore presented the update on renovations at the Center Theatre, located at 212 N. Fifth Street in Hartsville. Gore detailed several parts of the work which are complete and explained the remainder of work still to be done. The roof membrane was the #1 priority and has been completed to prevent any further roof leakage. All old mortar joints on the exterior façade of the building have been taken out and replaced with new ones to prevent moisture from entering the facility through the walls. Gore stated that even though they have raised over $1.6 million for the construction, they are still approximately $1.3 million behind meeting their goal for the next steps. Gore stated they plan to add 47 new seats, which will bring the seating capacity to over 900 and will be fully compliant with all regulations from the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). “When I began this,” Gore said, “I made a rule that we won’t begin any work unless we have the money to pay for it.” When completed, the facility will be the 5th largest such operating venue in the state. Speaking of local contractors and suppliers, Gore stated, “We are trying to keep as much of the work as local as we can.” He also explained how such other venues across the state were bringing in large amounts of revenue for their municipalities and the Center Theatre could do the same for Hartsville.

Rev. Jim Blue and Paula Wise addressed council on behalf of the Gospel in the Park event series. Blue stated that he has been taking part in these events for approximately 16 years and has always seen such enjoyment from the public. He thanked the city for supporting these events and recommended greater community participation. City Manager Daniel Moore gave an update on upcoming events, including council’s scheduled Budget Workshop on April 25, 2023, from 9am to 2pm at The Edition, 221 N. Fifth Street, Hartsville, and the “Celebrating Our Youth” Recreational Football Team Recognition event at 3pm on April 15, 2023 at the T.B. Thomas Sports Center, located at 701 W. Washington St. in Hartsville.

In other business, council held a Public Hearing and gave the Final Reading of Ordinance 4449, which authorizes the City of Hartsville to enter into a new agreement with the Municipal Association of South Carolina’s (MASC) tax collection programs due to the programs rebranding under one name as the Local Revenue Service Program.  The measure was approved. There was also a Public Hearing and Final Reading of Ordinance 4450, which approves redistricting changes to the City Council Districts as a result of population changes during the 2020 Census. This measure was also approved.

Council also heard the First Reading of Ordinance 4451, which allows the renewal of the current lease for the property at 149 W. Carolina Ave. to the Darlington County Humane Society. This measure was approved and will go on to a Second Reading at the May 9, 2023 City Council meeting, when it may be passed. 

Council stood and read Resolution 04-23-01, a declaration which is a request from the Municipalities Association of South Carolina (MASC) for local municipalities to join together in focusing on civility in government as a top priority. Councilwoman Teresa Mack requested that council consider reading the pledge before every city council meeting. Council agreed to take her request under consideration.

Council then went into Executive Session. Their next regularly scheduled meeting will be held on May 9, 2023.

Author: Stephan Drew

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