‘Things are happening’: Boyd gives State of the City address

Darlington Mayor Curtis Boyd delivers his annual State of the City address to a meeting of the Kiwanis Club Nov. 18. PHOTO BY BOBBY BRYANT

By Bobby Bryant, Editor

editor@newsandpress.net

“A lot of great things are happening” in Darlington, says Mayor Curtis Boyd – perhaps not as fast as we’d like, but they’re happening. In his annual State of the City address to the Kiwanis Club on Nov. 18, Boyd cited as one example of the slow-but-sure approach the more than 100 acres of land the city has purchased off Harry Byrd Highway as the basis for a big recreation complex that can be developed as money becomes available. “The sports complex – a lot of people think that’s not happening, or maybe, you know, everything takes forever, it seems like,” Boyd said. “ … Lord willing, it will happen.” Boyd noted that he was working on plans for the sports complex even before he was sworn in as mayor at the beginning of 2020. “We’ve worked on it steadily ever since,” he said. Design work for sections of the complex is being done now. “Things are happening,” Boyd said. “A lot of stuff is going on.” A tire store and a car wash are planned for the Wal-Mart area, he said. A gas station is set for the Bypass near the motel formerly known as Big Apple Inn. A seafood restaurant is planned near Boyd’s gym on Pearl Street. Among projects in the works now, Boyd said, crews are breaking ground for the new judicial center. (The iconic square Courthouse won’t be torn down, but rather will be used by the county government.) In addition, Boyd said, the city has hired a new city manager, John Payne, after a months-long search involving scores of candidates. Also, Georgia-Pacific continues its planning for a $145 million or more expansion at its Darlington Dixie plant, focusing on plate- and bowl-making operations. Also, Boyd noted, the City of Darlington will be receiving millions from President Joe Biden’s American Rescue Plan, a federal project to help out cities and counties across the nation that have been constrained by the COVID-19 crisis. City Council will develop strategies for how to use the funds. Boyd said he was pleased to see one of his ideas bearing fruit, as the city begins selling advertising on big vehicles such as trash trucks. He said they spent about 18 months working out the details for that project: “To me, that’s a little billboard.” When he was running for mayor, Boyd said, people would ask him, “How will you compete with Hartsville or Florence?” His answer was that he didn’t want Darlington to try to copy those cities; he wanted others to notice things Darlington was doing. Case in point: The annual turkey giveaway in Darlington, organized by chiropractor Dr. David Eads. (This year’s was to be held Nov. 23.) Boyd said the turkey event has attracted attention from Hartsville: “They want to do it, too; they want to do a turkey giveaway.”

Author: Rachel Howell

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