Society Hill Council discusses several issues

Society Hill Mayor Dwayne Duke during the August 9th town council meeting. PHOTO BY STEPHAN DREW

By Stephan Drew, Editor

The Society Hill Town Council convened on August 9, 2023, to deliberate on various matters of local importance. The session, led by Mayor Dwayne Duke, saw discussions ranging from the eagerly anticipated Catfish Festival to the restoration of the historic Depot, the future of the Community Garden, and other community-driven initiatives.

One of the highlights of the meeting was the deliberation surrounding the upcoming Catfish Festival. Originally slated for a different date, the festival’s organizers made a significant decision to move the event to September 16 at The Depot, located at 400 N. Main St. However, concerns arose over the state of The Depot, which required renovation work before it could host the event.

Councilmember Melissa Burch provided insight into the progress of these renovations. She shared that she had reached out to several contractors, with only one response received so far. The responding contractor proposed two options for the repairs: one involving the replacement of damaged wood and some railings for $5,674, and a more comprehensive option of $10,200 that would encompass replacing all railings, damaged wood, and planks. Mayor Dwayne Duke recommended a cautious approach, suggesting they wait for more bids to ensure the best deal for the town.

Historical preservation took center stage as well, with a captivating revelation from the Clemson Extension Service. The service’s study unveiled the rich history of the 1822 Library, which had been painted various colors over the years, including cream, blue, and even purple. The Council is mulling over the possibility of returning the library to its original color—a creamy beige—as a homage to its heritage.

Shifting the focus to communal efforts, Dianne Baird shared an uplifting update on the Community Garden. She revealed that an application had been submitted to the USDA to designate the garden as a “National Community Garden.” If approved, this recognition would mark a significant achievement for the town, highlighting its dedication to community development and sustainable practices.

Mayor Duke, known for his hands-on approach to leadership, had an inspiring tale to share about the town’s digital sign. He personally installed the sign in front of Town Hall, drawing upon his background in welding and construction. This initiative saved the town over $2,000 in installation fees, underscoring the mayor’s commitment to fiscal responsibility.

The meeting also touched upon plans for a new storage building, although this proposition raised concerns due to its potential encroachment on the town’s property line. The proposed building’s location was projected to be 4 feet over the property line, within the confines of the Water Department. Mayor Duke assured the council that a potential compromise would be discussed at the upcoming Water Department meeting, aiming to address the matter amicably.

Councilmember Deborah Harrell announced her candidacy for re-election, expressing her continued commitment to the town’s growth and prosperity. First Lady Joanne Duke echoed this sentiment, urging more community members to participate in the “One Street at a Time” campaign, highlighting the power of collective efforts in driving positive change. Nick Morrell, Secretary of the Society Hill Library, asked for more involvement by citizens and businesses in the Friends of the Society Hill Library. Since COVID, participation has drastically reduced and the library would greatly appreciate more community interest.

The next meeting of the Society Hill Town Council will be held on September 12, 2023.

Author: Stephan Drew

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