‘We want to develop everything’

By Bobby Bryant, Editor, editor@newsandpress.net

What does the city of Darlington need?
More businesses.
New and better sidewalks.
Affordable housing.
A snazzier look for the Public Square.
A plan for making nearby areas want to be annexed into the city.
A plan for marketing the city and its “brand.”
Those are some of the things City Council cited at a March 2 work session on “strategic planning” that produced dozens of ideas written down on extra-large sheets of paper and put up on one wall of the council chamber.
“It seems like everybody said a lot of the same stuff,” said Mayor Curtis Boyd. “ … We need to really market the city of Darlington. … We want to develop everything” and make every part of town look good.
“Everything that everybody has said involves money,” Boyd said. That suggests a review of each city department, he said.
“I have not looked at all the (city’s) books,” Boyd said. “I know that riding around through town, I see lots of issues – which are small issues, but small issues become large issues. … There are departments that need to become more self-sufficient. There are departments that are self-sufficient now. Not to say somebody’s doing right or wrong, but every department needs to be reviewed.”
Discussing ways that the city could look better, Boyd said: “My goal is the city’s overall appearance. … I want every part to look good. …Nobody’s going to move into your (City Council) ward, or his ward, or anybody’s ward if it looks run down.” A “lot” of city ordinances need to be reviewed, he said.
Boyd said: “How big is our town? We’ve got to make the Square good; that’s our core. ….(But) we want to develop everything. We want to develop from Wal-Mart all the way down South Main, all the way to Pearl, all the way to Cashua Street, all the way around. What can we do to develop every part?”
“If people from the outside see that we’re working together, that we’re not fussing, we have goals, we have plans, we’re accomplishing stuff, businesses will come in and want to be a part of that,” he added.
The city must sell its positives, Boyd told council. “There are 33 restaurants inside the city limits. They’re all good. They all have their little niches. … We need to sell those.”
Councilwoman Sheila Baccus suggested giving more money to the Beautification Board to market Darlington businesses. “That’s something we can start doing now.”
Other needs council discussed included: Improving “the appearance of downtown,” hiring a human-resources director for the city, hiring an engineer to run the water and sewer department, extending sewer services to neighborhoods in the Country Club area, creating a special-purpose district to finance infrastructure work, an incentive program for businesses, a comprehensive look at upgrading all stormwater and sewer lines, and street repairs.

Author: Stephan Drew

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