Hope for Society Hill

By Dwayne Aaron Duke Sr.


My name is Dwayne Aaron Duke Sr. I am running for Mayor of Society Hill on November 2nd, 2021.

Previous News and Press articles (September 15 and October 13) told you about my background, character and qualifications for the position. I hope you also got a sense of how much my wife Joanne and I love Society Hill, and how committed we are to its growth and vitality.

Today I’m asking for your vote. Please allow me to share my vision and ideas for our town’s future.

I first considered running for Mayor in 2019 after a solar farm was installed opposite Crazy Blessed Farm, which we strive to keep all-natural and organic. Since then, as a first-time Mayoral candidate, I have surrounded myself with knowledgeable civic leaders who generously imparted their time, knowledge, wisdom and experience. They have given me much insight into how a small town should function and what it will take for us to flourish.

Over the past months of campaigning, knocking on doors and listening to the people, I have gained a true understanding of residents’ concerns.

The most-expressed issue is cleaning up and beautifying our town. Residents want a community they can be proud of. Here are some of my top priorities:

  • Starting at Town Hall, which should be one of our town jewels, pressure wash the veterans’ memorial, reset the clock and continue landscaping.
  • Give public parks a facelift.
  • Clean up the streets and unclog the ditches.
  • Trim trees and shrubs around town.
  • Address overgrown areas and vacant buildings.
  • Continue to work with and expand the Beautification Committee to enhance the town’s appeal.
  • Explore the feasibility of a maintenance department, even if it’s part-time, and trash collection service.
  • Involve more residents in achieving these goals, perhaps by recognizing participants with annual Community Pride Awards.

If Society Hill is clean and maintained, it will be more attractive for current and future residents as well as new business opportunities.

Another major concern expressed was the lack of public events and community-building functions. There is an overall feeling of disunity. Bringing people together for the good of our town is paramount. How do we do that?

  • Increase local pride thru community events. Longtime residents recall various happenings and get-togethers – carnivals, parades, and festivals that brought the townspeople together. I hope to reignite the organizers among us to bring back such events on a regular basis.
  • Encourage those who want to contribute to join or create committees to promote the town’s activities.
  • Continue to support events such as the Porch Tours organized by the Beautification Committee and the Arts and Ag Tours that benefit culture, agritourism and entrepreneurship.
  • Organize activities for children and families. Let’s create nostalgia for kids, memories that unify them and teach teamwork through sporting events such as softball and basketball. Promote outdoor activities that teach kids to appreciate nature and value their place in the world.
  • Use our business and natural resources to promote economic and community growth. We are blessed with over 16,000 acres of nearby parks and recreation areas – Moree’s Sportsman’s Preserve, H. Cooper Black, Camp Coker and Cheraw State Park. They host events that attract visitors from around the country and the world, for example motocross, dog and horse events. In 2019 a Master National dog trial drew 5,000 attendees. And of course, there’s Darlington Raceway, which attracts 45,000 fans every year for the Southern 500. We could also expand and promote our own Society Hill boat landing for fishing and camping.

Society Hill should be maximizing potential revenue from these events. Putting up banners and creating a welcoming atmosphere for fans would help generate income and increase community pride.

We should also encourage small-business owners and entrepreneurs to take advantage of the opportunities these events offer.

Promoting these surrounding resources will rally the community to tackle other initiatives that would move the town forward:

  • Make Town Hall more accessible more often. We need more community input.
  • Livestream Town Council meetings to improve transparency and a sense of community ownership.
  • Improve internet capabilities to enable live-streaming. Look into fiber optics. Improving 21st century communications will not just benefit residents but also make the town more attractive to new businesses.
  • Explore grants and other funding resources to assist in upgrading Town Hall operations.

Let’s keep the “WE” in “We the People.” Vote for me on November 2nd and I will use every ounce of my integrity, character and spirit to serve you, the residents of Society Hill. Together we can achieve the goals set before us .Let’s make Society Hill the best it can be for us, our children, and God willing, generations to come.

Author: Stephan Drew

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