Slain officer’s family defends plans for park

By Bobby Bryant, Editor,

The widow and brother of slain police officer Terrence Carraway appeared before Darlington City Council last week to defend a planned park honoring slain S.C. officers after a resident showed council what she described as a petition, signed by 200 people, opposing the project.

Betty Jackson, who told council she lives near the park and memorial planned at South Main Street and D Avenue, appeared before council May 7 to argue that residents don’t want the project, which is spearheaded by mayoral candidate Curtis Boyd, a longtime friend of the Carraway family.

“We all want to honor and praise Officer Terrence Carraway … (but) to put another park in the busiest intersection in this city seems excessive and unnecessary,” Jackson told council.

“The inclusion of a basketball court and picnic tables in a basically senior-citizen neighborhood will be noisy and distracting.”

“The young people will be drawn to a basketball court and picnic tables,” she said. “Tractor-trailers are turning the corner of D Avenue and South Main Street all day and all night, seven days a week. … The idea of a basketball court and young people in such a congested area is very concerning. …”

“I hope and know that I speak for my neighbors that cannot or will not speak for themselves, as they feel that they have no voice in the city of Darlington,” she said.

And displaying a sheaf of papers filled with signatures, Jackson added: “And I have over 200 names already signed for a petition by my neighbors.”

Boyd had learned in advance that Jackson planned to address council that night. He sat in the audience with Carraway’s widow, Allison, and Carraway’s brother Daniel Blathers while two other people spoke to council on other issues.

Then they rose together and took the podium, taking turns in defending the park project, which is intended to honor Carraway and all S.C. law-enforcement officers killed in the line of duty.

Carraway, a Darlington resident who worked for the Florence Police Department, died Oct. 3, 2018, in an ambush attack on several officers in Florence County.

Allison Carraway told council: “Sgt. Terrence Carraway paid the ultimate sacrifice – he died to protect those that could not protect themselves.”

“Our family has been honored with the (planned) construction of a memorial park listing all 384 South Carolina officers who have died in the line of duty.”

“I never thought that I would be standing here, defending the validity or intentions of this project, much less its purpose,” she said.

“Yet I am. … This project is just the beginning of what’s in store, and each project will benefit the community in many ways.”

She said Boyd was the person who put up bows on mailboxes in the community after Carraway was killed, and he also put out posters of the slain officer so people could sign their names in condolence.

“I wonder if those that signed the condolences signed the (Jackson) petition as well?”

“The Terrence Carraway Fallen Officers Memorial Park – and I emphasize ‘memorial,’ not ‘recreational’ – will not only bring revenue and visitors to our town, it educates, and possibly motivates others to selflessly serve,” Allison Carraway told council.

She and Boyd both emphasized that the basketball court will not be full-sized, but only quarter-sized, and will be surrounded by a fence.

Boyd told the News & Press that the petition presented by Jackson will have no impact on plans to complete the park and memorial.

“No one can stop it, because we’re gonna build it,” Boyd said.

A dedication ceremony for the project was held April 16. Boyd donated the land to the Carraway Foundation. The project is to include a statue of Carraway, a monument listing the names of all slain S.C. officers, a flower garden, a flag display and a parking space reserved for the use of any law-enforcement officer.

In other business during its May 7 session, City Council heard proposals for tightening the city’s regulations for when, where and how residents can leave out their garbage rollcarts to be emptied by the city’s sanitation department each week.

City planning director Lisa Chalian-Rock told council that complaints from residents about the way their neighbors deal with their rollcarts had spurred the new proposals, which at this point are only in the early discussion stage. No ordinances changing the city’s rollcart policies are before council for a vote.

Under the proposals suggested by Rock, rollcarts could be put curbside no earlier than 5 p.m. on the day before pickup and would have to be returned to their storage location “on the side or rear yard of the property” no later than 8 p.m. on pickup day.

Garbage could not “extend above the rim of the container,” and the container’s lid would need to be closed at all times (except for when the rollcart is being filled or emptied).

Under the proposals, a rollcart could not be placed more than 3 feet from the edge of the curb, in front of or next to a mailbox, in a driveway or roadway so that access is blocked, on sidewalks or on another person’s property. The proposals suggest fines ranging from $25 to $100 for violations.

Council took no action on any of the proposals. Council members said they would continue to discuss the proposals, but they did not set a timetable for making any decisions.

Also during the May 7 meeting:

— Council approved $10,000 in hospitality-tax funds for the Darlington Veterans Memorial Committee as the group begins planning an expansion of the Veterans Memorial Park. The group plans to add three new walls with room for more than 900 additional names.
Council also approved $15,000 for the Darlington Chamber of Commerce’s Freedom Fest.

–After meeting in executive session, council agreed to take out a $2,500 option to purchase 55 acres off the U.S. 52 Bypass. The city has 120 days to exercise the option. City officials could not immediately offer specifics on how the property might be used.

— Mayor Gloria Hines presented two city employees, Isaac Fuller and Steve Abbott, with plaques for their service to the city.

Author: Rachel Howell

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