Hartsville’s ‘Vision 2030’ plans for growth
By Samantha Lyles
At their Nov. 10 regular meeting, Hartsville City Council approved first reading of a new comprehensive plan that lays out growth strategies for the city’s next decade. The Vision 2030 plan is the result of almost three years of monthly meetings involving approximately 100 team members, including the Planning and Zoning Commission, city staff and elected officials. “Unlike other cities, Hartsville did the plan on its own, without the assistance of an expensive consultant, so congratulations to our staff for doing that,” said Nancy McGee, Planning Commission chairperson. The plan aims to establish Hartsville as a local economic engine by qualifying and filling industrial sites, promoting educational institutions such as Coker University and the Governor’s School for Science and Mathematics, leaning into the idea of becoming a “bedroom community” for those working in Florence, and becoming a regional tourist attraction by playing up unique assets like Neptune Island Water Park, Kalmia Gardens, and the Byerly Park athletic complex. Vision 2030 updates the city’s last comprehensive plan, which was completed in 2010. Pending City Council’s final approval next month, elements of the plan will be realized over the next decade through policy changes, budgeting, grant applications, and economic development decisions. It will serve as a blueprint for promoting the city as an “attractive alternative to crowded big cities.” McGee described the plan as “a living document,” flexible enough to be altered as new needs or challenges arise. A public hearing and final reading for Vision 2030 is set for City Council’s Dec. 8 regular meeting. Also at this meeting, Jenny Boulware of Main Street SC presented Hartsville with its official Main Street accreditation. Boulware said Hartsville was formally evaluated in March and, with this new designation, becomes one of only four Main Street-accredited communities in the state. “During this intensive evaluation, communities showcase their successes, address their challenges, and highlight their future downtown economic development plans,” said Boulware, adding that these revitalization efforts should be comprehensive and sustainable. The accreditation makes Hartsville eligible for Main Street economic stabilization grants, which can be used to assist struggling small businesses. Boulware also presented City Council with new nationally branded street signs that recognize Hartsville’s “prestigious designation” as a Main Street city. Mayor Pro Tem Johnny Andrews and city manager Daniel Moore expressed gratitude for the accreditation and praised the efforts of former Main Street Hartsville director Suzy Moyd, who resigned her position the previous week. Moore also addressed the need to remain vigilant as a new wave of COVID-19 cases breaks nationwide. He noted that the city’s mask mandate has flattened the curve locally, bringing the number of active cases down from over 100 to 74, with most of those presenting as asymptomatic. “Across the state, mask ordinances have lowered the amount of active cases … and it’s not just a correlation. It is definitely a result of the mask ordinance,” said Moore.