PROSPERITY — The grass will be greener in Prosperity thanks to action by town council at Tuesday night’s meeting. Council discussed plans to add a green space to town property on Langford Street.
A storage building currently on the street that is in disrepair will be torn down and the green space made available as the Langford Street Park area is cleared.
Mayor Derek Underwood said the extra space would be an asset during festivals such as the upcoming Prosperity’s Hoppin’ festival and that removing the run down building and replacing it with a new storage building at another location also would help improve the town.
In other business related to run down buildings, Councilman Allen Gallman said council members talked with the Newberry legislative delegation and the delegation told council it was in favor of a bill that would give municipalities more leverage room to take over dilapidated buildings.
If the bill passes, Councilman Robert Martin said dilapidated buildings could be sold to someone willing to fix them up if a building owner refuses to get them in better shape.
Another bit of property-related news involved adding a full-time firefighter position in the town. Council continues to explore the possibility in partnership with Newberry County because the full-time employee could lower ISO ratings and thereby lower insurance rates for home owners.
One recommendation was moving a current volunteer firefighter into the position full-time and have that person rotate through the town on a schedule coordinated with the county.
In other business:
• Town Administrator Karen Livingston said 23 homes lost power during the storm but those residents were without power for an hour or so, compared to a 2004 storm where people went days without power. Council praised employees for going above and beyond to serve the residents during the recent snow event. Councilman Chad Hawkins especially thanked DOT and workers for proactive work to trim trees and work to limit damage from ice storms.
• In recreation news, Councilman Allen Gallman reported that T-ball, coaches pitch and softball registration deadlines were extended to Feb. 28. Prosperity’s Hopping is set for May 3. Gallman said new clay was installed that is more permeable and will allow rec fields to drain better. Feb. 8 is a coaches clean-up day for the area as well.
Gallman suggested the town purchase a golf cart for multipurpose use by the recreation department including dragging a harrow to smooth ball fields as well as for transporting residents during festivals. Currently Joey Long uses his personal ATV to maintain the fields.
While council voted unanimously to purchase a new drag for maintaining the fields at a cost of around $250 but council chose to table the recommendation to purchase a golf cart. Instead council wants to research options to find the most feasible option.
• Prosperity Town Council honored one of its own as an influential African American Community Leader, as the town has for the past seven years. Kenneth Boyd was this year’s selection and was honored for his military service and for volunteer efforts in the area such as helping coach baseball.
The Prosperity native served in the Army from 1977-1981 before joining the S.C. National Guard in 1985. He deployed to Turkey with the guard in 1991 and in 2007 deployed to Afghanistan with the 218th Brigade out of Newberry during Operation Enduring Freedom. Sgt. Boyd (Ret.) served 27 years in the military. He also is a proud member of the Counts Sausage family, a 22-year member of the Solid Rock Lodge #243 and is a member of Hannah AME Church in Newberry.
• Council said Tyla Bowers designed a sign for the Prosperity downtown district. Some signage would hang in the bank parking lot across from Grace Lutheran Church, but council said the concept has been approved but the size and lighting issues still are being worked out. Hawkins recommended the Prosperity Business Association look at the sign and that there be a town hall style meeting so citizens could have input as well.
• An area has been cleaned in front of town hall though council reported little progress on the Brown Street/School Drive sidewalk. Areas on Brown Street need to be cleared for the project to proceed.