Kingstree Town Council heard from Kingstree Main Street Project Director William Freeman during its July 15, meeting. Freeman presented an update on the project. One noticeable change is the benches along the sidewalks. Freeman said businesses have been purchasing the colorful metal seating. He said so far 14 benches have been purchased. Freeman said a business owner has taken advantage of the facade grant initiative. Three other businesses are working on their facades in order to take advantage of the matching funds.
The Kingstree Main Street design committee is working on phase two which includes expanding to the railroad tracks to IGA, Hampton, Mill and Jackson Streets. Freeman said the concept is different in that hanging basket can’t be hung on live wire lines. He said they are working with property owners to install outlets for mounting music speakers on their buildings. “We do have some interested parties and we’re working with them,” said Freeman.
A public hearing has been scheduled for September 3 and September 4, for the community to interact and comment about the new branding ideas, color palates and other changes occurring in Kingstree. On September 5, the committee will give a comprehensive presentation of their vision for the city. Details will be forthcoming.
The Municipal Association of South Carolina (MASC) sponsors the project. The mission of Main Street South Carolina empowers residents with the knowledge, skills, tools, and organizational structure necessary to revitalize their downtowns, neighborhood commercial districts and cities/towns into vibrant centers of commerce and community. Each year the MASC chooses two or three municipalities for the project. As a member the town pays dues to participate for three years. The Town of Kingstree joined the program in January 2018.
Freeman said the final Kingstree Live party would be the back-to-school bash. The event held at the Train Depot will have activities for kids and 300 book bags full of school supplies will be handed out to children in second grade through eighth grade while supplies last.
In other business, council voted to pass second reading to amend the 2019-20 budget to include $40,000 for the project. The funds will be drawn from the hospitality tax. In addition, employees will benefit from a surplus. According to Kingstree Town Manager Richard Treme, surplus funds received from the South Carolina Workman’s Compensation. “When we do well and we don’t have as many claims against our Workman’s Compensation they send us a check,” he said. The $16,190 check will be equally distributed among employees as a bonus. In addition, council passed a motion to increase the rental fee at the Kingstree Parks and Recreation Complex Youth Center small room from $50 to $150.