By Bobby Bryant, Editor, firstname.lastname@example.org
The new year, 2020, is a week old, and things are still slow.
We’re still writing 2019 on our checks. Everyone is shaking off two midweek holidays in a row. The usual Monday-Friday routine has been shaken and stirred – what day is it, anyway? Every New Year feels a little like a hangover.
But we’ll adjust. Over the next 51 weeks, here are some of the things we can expect for Darlington County:
— The South Carolina Democratic Party presidential primary is set for Saturday, Feb. 29. The state’s Republican Party presidential primary isn’t going to happen, unless something changes soon. The S.C. GOP’s executive committee voted Sept. 7 not to hold a primary this time. “With no legitimate primary challenger and President (Donald) Trump’s record of results, the decision was made to save South Carolina taxpayers over $1.2 million and forgo an unnecessary primary,” party chairman Drew McKissick said.
— Darlington’s new $20 million elementary school is scheduled to open in the fall for classes. The school, which replaces Cain and Brunson-Dargan elementaries, will be called J.L. Cain Elementary. Also expected in the fall of 2020: Opening days for new elementary schools in Hartsville and Lamar. (If you want to vote on the names for those two schools, go to the Darlington County School District’s website.)
— Bethea Retirement Community in Darlington was expected to complete a $23 million, 60,000-square-foot health care and rehabilitation facility by the fall of this year. The project is “a pivotal moment, a life-changing event, in the future of every resident and staff (member) of Bethea,” said Tom Turner, CEO and president of the S.C. Baptist Ministries of Aging. (Bethea is a ministry of that group.) The facility will encompass 88 private rooms, 22 for short-term care and 66 for long-term care.
— Sometime this year, we likely will find out exactly what “Project Peach” is. The code-named economic-development project appears to be an expansion of, or addition to, the Georgia-Pacific/Dixie Cup facilities in Darlington. There’s been talk of increased truck traffic. Apparently, “Project Peach” is going to manufacture, or complete the manufacturing of, something. But what?
— Well before Labor Day, we likely will know the name of the new company that will take over title sponsorship of the annual Southern 500 NASCAR race in Darlington. Bojangles’ is ending its sponsorship after seven years.
— Darlington’s new mayor, Curtis Boyd, will begin his first year in office. (He was scheduled to be sworn in this week.)
— Work will continue toward a new courthouse/judicial center for Darlington County, but don’t look for completion yet. County Councilman Robert Kilgo has said the project could take two or three years to finish.
The facility will be in downtown Darlington.
— The Terrence Carraway Fallen Officers Memorial Park at South Main Street and Avenue D in Darlington is expected to be completed by summertime. The park is to include a statue of the late Sgt. Carraway, a monument engraved with the names of South Carolina law enforcers killed in the line of duty and a teardrop wall. Carraway, who lived in Darlington and worked for the Florence Police Department, was killed in October 2018 when a gunman ambushed several officers.
— Primary elections are June 9. And the presidential election/general election will be Nov. 3.
Other races on the November ballot will include the U.S. Senate seat held by Republican Lindsey Graham, the 7th District U.S. House seat held by Tom Rice, 4th Circuit solicitor (currently Will Rogers), Darlington County sheriff (currently Tony Chavis), Darlington County coroner (currently Todd Hardee) and Darlington County Council seats including those held by Robert Kilgo and Le Flowers.