Newberry impresses me as a busy place, especially in the fall. Saturday, there’s Oktoberfest, which promises to be a fun-filled day and an important boost to the Newberry economy. Downtown merchants and scores of vendors are set to welcome Newberry citizens and visitors from around the state and beyond. Last year’s attendance was estimated at 16,000.
The fall in Newberry offers something to do every weekend. Last weekend it was the well done and well attended Newberry Ag Expo. Upcoming events include Newberry College’s Homecoming on Oct. 13, a Model A car show downtown on Oct. 20 and the city’s Family Fun Night and outdoor movie on Oct. 27.
Plus, there are football games every weekend and events sponsored by schools, churches and clubs. I think there’s something for everybody.
The Opera House is adding to the excitement as its season is off to an excellent start with multiple shows attracting big crowds. The Opera House is increasing the number of big-name acts it books, and those ticket sales are promising.
Some construction projects in the city are winding down, while others are getting started. The new Piedmont Tech is nearing completion and looking good.
The city’s beautification project on College Street began recently with the first step of removing the old chain length fence around Rosemont Cemetery. New crepe myrtles will be planted and serve as the new border. In early 2013 the streetscaping work on College Street with new islands, trees and flowers will be done. When completed, the College Street entrance to Newberry will be much improved.
The city is making its first concrete plans to improve its 16 parks, many which need significant upgrades. The city plans to improve 2 to 3 parks per year, starting with this fiscal year. At our September City Council meeting, the city committed $331,000 to improve Vincent Street Park, a long-time popular basketball park, playground and picnic spot behind Newberry Elementary School. Improvements will include new basketball court surfacing and goals, a new shelter and picnic tables and new paved parking. Completion is scheduled for early summer.
Also the city is working to create for 2013 new, improved homes for recreation football and for T-ball baseball, both of which are played at Oakland currently. Football is well-attended and needs a bigger location with more parking. We should have a new plan in place for next football season. In Oakland the city is discussing with Newberry College a possible new city/college tennis facility. By creating a new home for T-ball, we’ll be able to consider that plan.
Those improvements at Vincent Street and for football and T-ball are our first three initiatives for city parks. After completing those by summer, the city plans to pick new park improvement projects for the 2013-14 fiscal year.
Finally, the Newberry economy continues to measure better than the state average. To help the local economy, I encourage you to ship and dine locally. It’s said 70 percent of the national economy is directed by consumer spending, and I’m sure that’s true in Newberry as well. By shopping and dining in Newberry County, we can have great impact and help our neighbors, whether small business owners or employees of national chains. Thank you for visiting and supporting downtown Newberry, the Wilson Rd. area, and shopping and dining areas around the city and county.
Foster Senn can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org