NEWBERRY — The mayors of Whitmire, Prosperity, Little Mountain, Pomaria and Newberry all agree that Newberry County is coming together as a whole and they are producing positive changes within each of their towns.
Whitmire Mayor Billy Hollingsworth, Prosperity Mayor Derek Underwood, Mayor Darrel Hentz from Pomaria and Mayor Jana Jayroe from Little Mountain attended a breakfast put together by the Newberry County Chamber of Commerce and held at The Palms Bar and Grill in Newberry.
Hollingsworth, in his second year as mayor, said he has seen positive changes in the town since last year’s breakfast. He said he set goals for himself, most importantly to turn the negatives that everyone hears about Whitmire into positives.
“I’m glad to see growth in Whitmire,” Hollingsworth said. “It takes us all working for the same means to get where we need to be.”
Hollingsworth mentioned the town’s new Economic Development Board, which he said has done a wonderful job with promoting the town through events such as the veteran’s celebration and classic car show held last month and future events such as Art in the Park (Aug. 23) and the Pink Ribbon Walk (Oct. 4).
Hollingsworth said he firmly believes the only way to get things done is with the help of people. “I learned that early on in my career,” he said.
Whitmire was recently deeded 2.6 acres at the old Whitmire High School, which Hollingsworth said he hopes will become an asset to the town, once they decide how to market the building.
Hollingsworth said the open house of Whitmire’s renovated Town Hall Annex will be announced at the next council meeting on Aug. 11. He said the back of the building has a meeting room that will hold 20 to 25 people if anyone ever needed the space.
Hollingsworth also said the installation of the town’s new radio-read meters will begin around September.
The town of Prosperity recently signed an agreement with Advanced Disposal which means recycling in Prosperity will soon be in place, Mayor Derek Underwood said.
Underwood said it will be the first of January when the program begins. The large containers will be picked up every two weeks.
He also said the sidewalks have been completed with the help of grant money. Underwood said the project included looking at drainage, AT&T lines and other issues. The downtown sidewalks are engineered for replacement and Underwood said the town is working on getting grants and funding for that.
On the recreation side, Underwood said the program continues to grow, with fields full and business bubbling after games end. Prosperity partnered with the City of Newberry to have a football program.
Substation upgrades were added in this year’s budget to better provide electrical reliability that the town deserves.
Underwood welcomed new businesses including Bi-Lo, Crazy Daisy, the new location of First Community Bank and All Things Tasty.
The town of Pomaria had 90 plus participants in its recreational baseball this year, Mayor Darrel Hentz said. For the second year in a row, the town also had four Little League teams.
Pomaria hosted its third annual Old Pomaria School Reunion this year with the theme Honoring Our Veterans. Hentz said they had at least 70 floats in the parade. Veterans took turns sharing their history and were honored following the parade.
Hentz said the town’s next goal is to have a town website to better display history, events and more on Pomaria.
Jana Jayroe was sworn in as mayor of Little Mountain in April 2013. “I have had a great time and hope I continue to have fun,” she said.
The group Backwoods Geocachers helped clean up downtown, which helped Little Mountain get a $5,000 Keep America Beautiful grant she said they plan to use on trash cans.
Jayroe said the town is working to finish Derrick Center by the water tower. Half of the building is currently being used as a senior center. Her goal is that the other half of the building be used as a library by next year.
After a two year absence, Jayroe said the reunion held the first weekend in August was a wonderful success.
“I’m happy all of the work and struggle was worth it,” she said.
Through the process of bringing the reunion back, Jayroe said she spent hours asking citizens what they loved about the reunion and why they wanted it brought back. The discussion was what Jayroe said was the biggest part of earning trust within the Little Mountain community.
“If you can restore that trust with the government, it just does wonders within your community,” she said.
Mayor Foster Senn introduced Police Chief Dennis Brown to the community before giving into his thoughts about improvements in Newberry.
Business seems to be good in the city, Senn said with the opening of new businesses including R & W’s Fish House, Krazy Daisy, Newberry Flag and Garden, the recent renovations to Stokes Trainor and Hedgepath’s new location.
Senn also mentioned the facade improvements to downtown for which he said he had heard many compliments.
David Martin spoke on behalf of the Figaro Market which is set to open later this month. Martin said the business will sell fresh meats, imported cheeses, oils, vinegars, pasta and more. Martin is opening the business on behalf of Bob Shirey.
Senn also mentioned upgrades in front of Community Hall. “It will be the focal point of the square,” Senn said. “That’s something we can all be proud of.”
With the new football field almost complete at Mollohon Park, the city’s new wayfinding system coming soon, and the streetscaping along College Street, Senn said there were a lot of good things happening in the city.