Mayor on his 1st year: ‘We’ve done a lot of good things’

Mayor Curtis Boyd addresses the Darlington Kiwanis Club. PHOTO BY BOBBY BRYANT

By Bobby Bryant, Editor

editor@newsandpress.net

Looking back on his first year in office, Darlington Mayor Curtis Boyd remembered a question he was asked during his campaign. “The media asked me, when I ran for mayor, ‘What would you do different? How would you compete with Florence and Hartsville?’” Boyd recalled Dec. 3 as he gave his first “State of the City” address to a meeting of the Darlington Kiwanis Club at the Darlington Country Club. “I said, ‘I’m not going to compete with them.’ … I want (us) to do what Darlington does best. I want other people to look at us and go, ‘What’s happening in Darlington?’ And that’s already happening.” “Progress has been made, people are looking, and we’re getting attention,” Boyd said. “ … We’ve done a lot of good things. … We’ve accomplished a lot.” He praised the support he has gotten from City Council – “I’m really appreciative of the council we have” – and cited these among the city’s victories since he took office in January: — Georgia-Pacific’s planned $145 million expansion of its Dixie plant in Darlington. “That’s a major impact for the city,” he said, “and we greatly appreciate them staying here. They could have picked up and left just like some companies do.” — Plans for a new judicial center downtown. (The existing cube-shaped courthouse will remain in place for county government.) — The city’s purchase of $600,000 of land off Harry Byrd Highway, which will be the foundation for a recreation complex. — Plans for repaving nearly 20 city streets plagued by potholes. — The city’s deal to lease the old Carnegie Library on North Main Street to the county for 50 years for a token fee. The county plans major renovations of the ex-library (renovations to be financed by the county), but officials have not revealed how they expect to use the building. “When I came in, they said, ‘A lot of the time, the city and county (don’t) work together,’” Boyd noted, and pointed to the Carnegie Library arrangement as evidence this is not the case. Boyd said the county’s plans for the long-vacant building will aid the look and feel of the downtown area. When he first took office after being elected in November 2019, Boyd said, “My goal at the beginning was to go out and see what we could clean up” around town. “People try to clean things up before the guests come in,” Boyd said. “… We’re in kind of a Catch-22. We want more residents, we want more businesses – I wish I could snap my fingers and make businesses come. We’ve been in the middle of a pandemic, so right now, we’re trying to survive, and (help) people stay open.” Overall, Boyd said, it’s been a good first year and he hopes the next few are even better. “I love Darlington,” he said. “I’ve been here 56 years. … This is home, and I want to see it progress and go forward.”

Author: Rachel Howell

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