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If all goes as planned, the landscape of Kingstree is going to be transformed. Main Street Project Director William Freeman presented a laundry list of projects for the city. His high expectations are fueled by community engagement. “The people have bought into it,” said Freeman whose vision is a beautiful, strong and prosperous city.

The vision begins with a road map and a consulting firm. A consulting firm is charged with rebranding, strategic planning, market analysis, and streetscaping. Freeman said the rebranding would be from the ground up. “The Town of Kingstree has used a seal, which is inappropriate,” he said. “You’re never supposed to use your seal as your logo. It’s only to be used for important things and documents.”

Freeman said the community will be involved every step of the way. “It’s up to the community; 100 percent,” he said. “This is not going to be one person’s decision on what it should. It’s going to be a community based project.” Public meetings regarding a visual strategic plan for the Kingstree Downtown Roadmap are scheduled to receive public opinion. Two meetings are scheduled for Tuesday, September 3, and September 4, presentation will be held Thursday, September 5, at 6 p.m. The meetings will be held in the Kingstree Town Hall Courtroom. If unable to make the meetings, citizens can also participate by visiting scwavs.com and take a survey.

For decades the Town has made attempts to make major changes but most ideas fell through. Freeman said the time is right for it to work. “The good thing about this is the town has bought in,” said Freeman. “They’ve given me a budget.” Some planning has already begun. A drive or walk down Academy or Main Street reflects positive changes but Freeman wants to expand. One goal is to turn Main Street into two lanes and a detour for 18-wheelers except for loading/unloading purposes. “We cannot built our downtown without making it ‘walkable’ and safe.”

In other business, Freeman announced the date for the Pig Pickin’ Festival. The event will kickoff Thursday, October 10, with the annual Danny McFaddin Memorial Golf Tournament. Teams will vie for prizes and enjoy a catered lunch.

The festival will take place at the Kingstree Parks and Recreation Complex as in the past but there will be changes. For instance, vendors will be narrowed down so that no more than two vendors will sell the same items. And cookers will be competing in two separate cook-offs for $15,000 in prize money. With two months to go, Freeman said they already have 25 cookers signed up. Last year at this time only five cookers had registered for a spot.