Hartsville hears from All-America City youth delegation
By Samantha Lyles, Staff Writer, firstname.lastname@example.org
The City of Hartsville recently received the 2016 All-America City designation. Paired with its 1996 win, this marks the second time Hartsville has been so recognized for concerted efforts toward community building. At the July 12 regular meeting of Hartsville City Council, students Archie Torain, Ty’Quan Coe, Chris Berry, Niesha Smith, and Chynna Addison spoke to council about their experiences as youth delegates at the 2016 All-America City ceremonies in Denver, Colorado.
“Every city in America had a story to tell, and some were told a little better than others,” said Torain, 16, adding that he learned to appreciate the importance of origin stories. “Even though you’re positive in where you’re going, never forget where you came from and where you started.”
“I had an awesome experience in Denver,” said Smith, 18. “I got to meet a lot of different people… and I was very grateful to have a great team with me.”
“I just knew in my heart that we were going to win,” said Coe, 18, who expressed faith that Hartsville’s youth are the key to keeping the city moving forward. “It’s youth that brings everybody together… because they’re the future and they’re bringing up new traditions.”
The teens all seemed to share Coe’s sentiment that even though they might not have been close before the trip, their Denver experience bonded them for life.
This team of six teens and twenty adults traveled to Denver and spoke with a judging panel about various community improvement programs the city has developed. The judges heard about local teamwork with industry and non-profits like Sonoco, the Byerly Foundation, the Community Foundation for a Better Hartsville, Carolina’s Kids, Darlington County First Steps, the Sonoco-funded $5 million PULSE (Partners for Unparalleled Local Scholastic Excellence) educational initiative, and outdoor learning program Cypress Adventures.
The kids also shared with judges their personal experiences growing up in Hartsville, and offered musical performances to highlight their stories.
View Hartsville’s winning presentation at the All-America City Competition in Denver:
On the meeting’s regular agenda, council passed final reading of Ordinance 4255, clearing the way for sidewalk vending businesses to sell wares in the city. This change was brought about when a teenager petitioned the city to open a hot dog vending cart downtown, catering to the lunch trade.
Council authorized the purchase of several parcels of land for blight abatement, future development, and the construction of a planned police and fire complex. These parcels include three lots totaling 1.033 acres and a building near the West Carolina Avenue and Sixth Street intersection, where the shuttered Marketplace convenience store was located, costing $425,000. Another .34 acre parcel near 7th Street will cost an additional $165,000.
Council also approved application to the SC Housing neighborhood initiative program, which could yield a $420,000 grant to help acquire and demolish crime-attracting blight properties in the Historic Butler District. This grant, if received, would require a local 10-percent match for cost overages.