Hartsville to open police substation at former Food Lion

Hartsville Mayor Mel Pennington, joined by a troop of local Girl Scouts, read a proclamation designating March 6 through 12 as “Girl Scouts of America” week in the City of Hartsville. Pennington noted that there are 3.2 million Girl Scouts nationwide, and these young ladies – students in 5th to 12th grades – are members of a proud tradition of education and fun dating back 104 years. Photo by Samantha Lyles

Hartsville Mayor Mel Pennington, joined by a troop of local Girl Scouts, read a proclamation designating March 6 through 12 as “Girl Scouts of America” week in the City of Hartsville. Pennington noted that there are 3.2 million Girl Scouts nationwide, and these young ladies – students in 5th to 12th grades – are members of a proud tradition of education and fun dating back 104 years.
Photo by Samantha Lyles

By Samantha Lyles, Staff Writer, slyles@newsandpress.net

Hartsville City Council convened their regular meeting on Tuesday, April 12, and approved first reading for a lease agreement to locate a police substation in the South Hartsville area.

This measure, Ordinance 4244, would approve an agreement with property owner South Carolina Development Properties, LLC, to lease office space at 710 South Fifth Street (the former Food Lion shopping plaza) for use by the Hartsville Police Department’s Community Outreach Division.

HPD Community Outreach Lt. Tenyonde Richardson says that the new substation will be a home base for outreach and intervention programs like “Hartsville Safe Communities,” designed to improve police/community relations and keep at-risk individuals (such as repeat offenders and those registered with Probation and Parole) on the right path.

Richardson says those individuals can benefit from referrals to community programs, such as career advice and education from Darlington County Adult Ed, and counseling and parenting strategies from the Durant Children’s Center.

“We want to get out and show the good side of policing, to show that all the negative things they see in the media is not what we’re doing here in Hartsville,” Richardson says. “By bridging that gap, we want to show that we’re not all about locking people up. We’re trying rehabilitate people and let them know that we’re here to help, not to hurt.”

Lt. Richardson and Community Liaison Officer Jaye Gullett hope to be in their new offices by mid-June. With guidance and mentoring from a similar and successful program conducted by the Aiken Police Department, Hartsville Safe Communities is set to officially kick off operations this July.

The 36-month lease would be rent-free in exchange for the city’s occupancy, maintenance and upkeep of the property. Second reading of Ordinance 4244 will be held at council’s May 10 regular meeting.

Also on the agenda, council passed final reading of Ordinance 4240, which will establish special property tax assessments for rehabilitated historic properties. Under this “Bailey Bill” program, an owner could apply to have their property assessed by the City of Hartsville for historic status, and if that designation is granted they could receive preferential tax rates for a period of 5 to 20 years depending on how much they spend to rehab the property.

At council’s March meeting, Mayor Mel Pennington and Mayor Pro Tem Johnny Andrews explained that the city chose to pursue this program rather than establishing a formal Historic District because it provides a property owner with the option to pursue historic designation rather than have that designation mandated by where they live.

Other items receiving approval included the following:

Resolution 04-16-02, approving $36,723 to purchase a new slide feature for the Piratesville Splash Pad

Resolution 04-16-03, approving a budget of up to $75,000 to install a new Versacourt surface (made of interlocking polymer tiles) on the Lawton Park tennis courts

Resolution 04-16-04, authorizing the city to negotiate with the South Carolina Aeronautics Commission for planning and engineering consulting services for the Hartsville Regional Airport

Council also passed first reading of Ordinance 4242, amending city codes to allow properties with multiple dwellings (such as a mother-in-law cottage) to receive services from a single water meter, provided those dwellings are occupied by tenants who do not pay rent.

Author: Duane Childers

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