Two grand openings this month point towards an interesting and promising 2018 with a number of things to be encouraged by.
The Oakland Tennis Center opened Jan. 3 with six hardcourts and three clay courts. The courts are open to the public and the home of Newberry College tennis. I heard a young adult say at the opening, “This place is so nice, it makes we want to learn to play tennis.” A celebration of the center will be Saturday 11 a.m.—2 p.m. with tours, demonstrations, the chance to sign-up for clinics, plus hamburgers and hot dogs.
Samsung’s grand opening was Jan. 12 with Governor Henry McMaster, Senator Tim Scott, Congressman Ralph Norman and many Samsung leaders in attendance. Product is now rolling off the production line with 500 people already employed and the projection of over one million washers to be made in Newberry in 2018.
In a conversation with Samsung Senior Vice President Dochul Choi, he said Samsung’s big competitive advantage over its competitors is Samsung’s heavy investment in research and development. He also said Samsung was very pleased on the quick success of getting the Newberry factory running with great cooperation from the new staff, plus from the state, county and local utilities (City of Newberry, Newberry Electric Co-op, and CNNGA). He said starting a new factory doesn’t always go as well as it has here.
The city is working on a number of efforts for 2018. This includes working in neighborhoods, such as new landscaping and improvements at Willowbrook Park.
Working with landlords, our new problem-property ordinance takes effect April 15 as rental properties with repeated unlawful activity will lose their ability to be rented. Every landlord needs to visit City Hall by April 15 to complete their landlord registration form. As the city Police Department identifies problem properties in the future, landlords will be informed and encouraged to take action.
In utilities the $11 million renovation project at the city water plant on the Saluda River will be complete this spring. We’ll also continue to improve our water and sewer lines. Construction is underway on our second new electric substation, this one on Player Street, which will increase the reliability of our electric system.
Comcast says they will offer faster internet service in Newberry later in 2018, and the city is looking to see how we can encourage faster internet also.
For the new city recreation complex off Highway 34, that’s part of the Capital Project Sales Tax, the city will receive this spring the drawings for the park, which will include ballfields, a splash pad, playground and walking trail. After plans are finalized, bids will be taken and later construction will begin.
There’s a full calendar of local events, including the Oakland Tennis celebration Saturday and the Healthy Chili Cook-off Feb. 3 at Memorial Park. The Newberry Opera House has an exciting schedule that’s drawing locals and tourists, and the Newberry Arts Center has a full slate of classes.
I hope you have a very good 2018.
Foster Senn is the mayor of the City of Newberry.