WHITMIRE — The Town of Whitmire has three buildings in the process of being revamped in hopes of making the town more attractive and bringing in revenue.
At Monday’s regular town council meeting, Newberry County’s Ervin West gave updates on the town hall annex building on Main Street, the Whitmire library addition and the old armory building that will become a rescue/EMS building. West, construction project manager, works for Carter Goble Lee.
On the town hall annex front, West said that the demolition is near complete and the old duct work is almost all gone. West said the utilities — natural gas, telephone, etc. — had to be temporarily moved. However, the interior frame was ongoing as of Monday.
The security and communications will be coming along in the next few weeks. West said that hopefully by the end of May or beginning of April, the project will be done.
West also proposed to council a wireless, mobile speaker system for council chambers that would include a base system transmitter with a receiver and microphones so council members could be heard while speaking.
West said the system would be similar to what the Firehouse Conference Center in Newberry has and would include a two-year warranty on the equipment. West said council would receive bids on the system.
The projected finish date of the town hall annex, a one-cent sales tax project, is the end of April or beginning of May, he said. The library construction, which is being funded through a grant, is projected to be completed around the same time, he added.
West said the old roof was off the library and the new roof was ready to be installed. The plumbing, electrical and brick work is ongoing but the new windows are in.
As for the drywall, West said they could start any day. The computer and lab equipment, which is what the addition is mainly for, has to be ordered.
The interior work, including colors, cabinets, etc., is done through the Newberry County Library and is up to Director Sam Ziady.
At the old armory, a new roof and a new metal deck are to be installed. The building was bought by the county to house rescue and EMS squads for Whitmire, shortening the time it would take to get from Newberry to Whitmire.
The town is still in the process of looking for a full-time recreation director. Interested applicants can contact Town Hall at 694-2356 for more information.
In absence of the recreation director, former council member Chrystal Harsha and former mayor Tim Carroll helped out with no pay. At Monday’s meeting, town employee Beth Brooms gave an update about spring sports.
Biddie ball is starting, Broom reported, and they have about 18 children which gives the town two teams with nine per team. They will meet at the city gym Tuesday nights and start practicing.
Their first game is at 10 a.m. Feb. 23 and they will play for four Saturdays after that date.
As for baseball, softball and T-ball, Whitmire is still in need of children. Broom said that the Dixie minors (younger kids) should have enough for a team but the Dixie majors (older kids) still need people.
Contact town hall for more information or stop by the office on Main Street.
A few residents signed up to speak at the council meeting.
Charlie Wilbanks, who owns a photography studio in downtown Whitmire, urged council members and other town employees and residents to get involved more, especially with the school.
“The school needs awareness and the town and school need to get together,” said Wilbanks.
She also emphasized finding a recreation director who will help grow the town.
“A good recreation director can help branch out and add things that could help this town,” said Wilbanks. “We need to make Whitmire more of what we want it to be.”
Council member Cassie Fowler also commented on the recreation director position, emphasizing that the town should reach out to the surrounding colleges and find someone who specializes in sports management and recreation.
Tanginika Brooks, who helps with the Boys and Girls Club at Whitmire Community, came to town council to ask for permission to use the Whitmire Community Center during spring break and summer vacation during the day.
The club uses school property after school lets out for their after school program. However, Brooks said that during Christmas break, the Whitmire children enrolled in the Boys and Girls Club program had to either travel to Newberry or not go. She added that parents still had to pay for that week so some parents paid for a week while their children did not attend.
There are 27 enrolled in Whitmire but Brooks said there’s slightly less who regularly attend.
“I want the kids to be able to stay in Whitmire instead of going to Newberry or Prosperity,” said Brooks.
The children would use the facility during the day, Monday through Friday.
Council member Dwight Lane made a motion for the organization to use the community center for $350 a week and if there is a scheduling conflict then they would use the city gym or some other town facility as back up. Council member Michael Thomas seconded the motion and all were in favor.
Finally, Sue Hollingsworth from the Whitmire Jaycees told council that the 26th annual Party in the Pines was set for June 6-8. She also asked if the Jaycees could sell alcohol, with the appropriate measures, during the festival.
Hollingsworth said it would help them financially and they would confine it to an area and check IDs and have bracelets for those over 21 years old.
Mayor Billy Hollingsworth said they would have an answer for the Jaycees at the March council meeting. The town would have to look into the liability issue as well and council would vote on it.
The Jaycees also returned from a state convention Jan. 26 where they received many awards including one for spiritual development for their gospel in the streets during last year’s Party in the Pines, their Cheer Fund during Christmas, their November stump meeting for candidates around the county and more. Hollingsworth herself received a national ambassador award.
In other miscellaneous news, Hollingsworth reminded everyone about the upcoming state of the town/town hall meeting set for 6 p.m. Feb. 18 at the community center. There will be refreshments beforehand and Hollingworth will speak on three major issues: the economy in Whitmire, recreation and finances in the town.
He also reminded residents about the upcoming special election to replace the seat Hollingsworth vacated upon becoming mayor. The election will be April 2. The filing books are open until noon Feb. 22.