Society Hill Council discusses improvements, library restoration, and resignation rumors

Diane Baird received the $50 gift card from Corner Cupboard for not missing a day during Town Cleanup days. PHOTO BY STEPHAN DREW

By Stephan Drew, Editor

Society Hill is planning changes, and they’re coming soon. On Tuesday, September 13, the Society Hill Town Council held their monthly meeting, where they discussed a variety of issues, including upcoming festivals, numerous town improvements and restoration of the 1822 Library.
Brian Gandy, Executive Director of the Darlington County Historical Commission and Museum, presented eight suggestions the council may wish to follow in order to properly restore the 1822 Library, located at 299 South Main Street. “If you want to preserve documents, you do that in a very different way than you do buildings. They do not preserve the same way,” Gandy stated. He explained each step of the process, how it would be done and how the finished product will appear. Gandy told council the books “are not the oldest inland collection of library books in the State of South Carolina but, y’all may be the only library in the state that has the original collection. You have, in your possession, the second oldest inland library in the state,” he said.
To save money and remove the need for heat and air installation, Gandy suggested removing the original 1822 collection books to a safer climate-controlled location and exhibiting a representation of them in the original structure. Gandy said, “You want the books at a constant humidity, you want them at a relative constant temperature. Whereas, with the structure, you don’t necessarily have to have that. That structure will acclimate within itself.” With the structure, he recommended keeping the original shutters but, having a new door, reminiscent of the original, made and installed. He also suggested removing the modern fireplace mantel and replacing it with a plain wooden mantelpiece, reminiscent of the original. Gandy also told council, “Clemson University has the capacity and lab space where they do paint sampling on historic structures. They can give you a full report on every paint sample in the building and let us know what was exact regarding paint color. You can’t get more historically accurate than that. To be able to say ‘we painted it back just like it was.’”
Nick Patel of Corner Cupboard donated a $50 gift card to the council. Mayor Duke and council decided to give the card to Diane Baird, who has not missed a single day during all the Town Cleanup events. Baird expressed the need for more help, “We need more volunteers to come out. It’s a lot of fun but it’s a lot of work. We would get so much more done if we had more people.”
Society Hill Police Chief Renae Worden addressed rumors of her resignation, “I have heard a few rumors that I am leaving. I am going nowhere. I love this community.” She also reported that, during the month of August, her department issued 54 citations, had 19 contacts, and assisted 2 different agencies as well as other actions. She reported upcoming events, such as the First Annual Bash on October 29, which will include a Trunk or Treat, face painting, games and music. The Christmas celebration will be held on December 17 from 2 to 4 p.m., and will include Santa Claus, decorations, reindeer food and toys for the children. Worden stated, “I want to get toys for everyone and have them wrapped when they come.”
Worden also discussed a problem the town has had with large tractor-trailer trucks entering no thru-truck roads. She stated, “A commercial truck driver is supposed to have a commercial GPS. What’s happening is, companies are not providing them that. So, the drivers are using a GPS on their cellphones, which allows them a way that’s shorter, even if it takes them through a no thru-trucks route. A commercial GPS will not show them a route which goes through a no thru-trucks street.”
Mayor Dwayne Duke reminded council of improvements at several locations in the town, including the boat landing, Town Hall and the Depot. “This is in my heart too, I want to see Society Hill open and moving. We’ve got a lot of people who supported the Depot and everything,” Duke said. Council also discussed maintenance necessary before Veterans Day celebrations. “We need to start cutting, weeding, and planting now,” Duke stated.
The Veterans Day celebration will be held on November 12 and the next town council meeting is scheduled for October 11.

Author: Stephan Drew

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