Thursday, January 31, 2013

Hartsville to begin Residential Demolition Assistance Program

Beginning a new phase in the City of Hartsville’s efforts to remove blighted residential structures in the city limits, Hartsville City Council has provided a $20,000 grant to the newly formed Hartsville Community Development Foundation for a Residential Demolition Assistance Program.

Still in its planning stages, the program will offer partial funding for demolitions for those property owners interested in removing vacant and severely dilapidated houses. When the owner of an identified blighted property agrees to participate, the City of Hartsville will work with the Foundation to hire a contractor to demolish and clear away every part of the owner’s condemned structure or structures. Property owners will retain ownership of the cleared lots.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Hartsville Fire Department hosts free child car seat checks

The Hartsville Fire Department will offer free child car seat safety checks for local residents of young children Friday, Feb. 8 from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. in the parking lot of Lawton Park, 716 Prestwood Drive.

The service will include an inspection of any car seat’s functionality, performed by trained personnel from the Hartsville Fire Department and Hartsville Police Department. Participants must bring their own car seats, as none will be given away. A partnership with the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control and Safe Kids, a nonprofit advocacy group which works with local organizations to prevent child injuries, has made the event possible.

Although car seats provide substantial safety for child passengers and should be used as long as the child fits within height and weight specifications, according to Safe Kids, they can be used improperly. A 2012 study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration identified common mistakes made by parents and caregivers when installing and using car seats and booster seats, including using the wrong harness slot, installing the seat too loosely or incorrectly placing a harness chest clip or seat belt on a child. The study also found that 20 percent of drivers of small children did not read instructions provided for child safety restraints.

“The value of car seats is simple: they save lives,” Hartsville Fire Chief Jeff Burr said. “They must be used properly to provide this safety, however. Parents and caregivers who check in with our free service will be able to know that they are using their seats in the safest way possible.”

Friday, January 25, 2013

A Moment with the Manager - Hampton Inn project and more

By Natalie M. Zeigler, City Manager

Many have already seen preparations on East Carolina Avenue and Second Street for a Coker College project, one which will have its official groundbreaking ceremony today at 2 p.m. This new 48-bed student housing complex, a response to a growing enrollment at the college, comes on the heels of other welcome developments from Coker such as the opening of the Downtown Flats student apartments on College Avenue and the Betty C. and Joseph L. Wiggins School of Education last year.

Of course, Coker College does not provide the only example of growth in Hartsville these days. On South Fifth Street, the retailer Tractor Supply will soon begin work to move into the former Food Lion building, filling in a major vacancy in that retail district.

Recycler of the Month - January 2013

Jimmie Lucky is the City of Hartsville’s Recycler of the Month for January.

A United States Army veteran of more than 21 years, Lucky said he first picked up the habit of recycling from military regulations. Now, he sorts out recyclable cardboard, plastic and other materials in his home and in his work.

“I have always recycled,” he said.

The Recycler of the Month award provided Lucky with a $25 gift card to the Depot Diner, 128 E. College Ave., as well as a real-estate-style sign announcing the award.

The award program is part of an effort to promote the recycling partnership of Sonoco and the City of Hartsville. Next month, the City will choose another winner. To learn more about City of Hartsville pick-up schedules and what recyclable materials are accepted, or to request a recycling roll cart, call Environmental Services at 843.383.3019.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

City of Hartsville recognized as Tree City USA for 26th year

The City of Hartsville has now received recognition for 26 years as a Tree City USA. Dena Jacob and Jimmy Walters of the S.C. Forestry Commission made the presentation of this honor at The Vista, the park located at Railroad and Coker avenues.

The Tree City USA program, sponsored by the Arbor Day Foundation, USDA Forest Service and the National Association of State Foresters, provides direction, technical assistance, public attention, and national recognition for urban and community forestry programs in thousands of towns and cities. To qualify for the Tree City USA designation, a city must have a forestry program, tree board or department, a tree care ordinance and an Arbor Day observance and proclamation.

The City of Hartsville marked South Carolina’s Arbor Day in December by planting a new Bur oak in Pride Park.

Prestwood Lake boat ramp closing this summer for construction

The City of Hartsville’s Prestwood Lake boat ramp and fishing dock on Sonovista Drive will close for a six-month period beginning Wednesday, Jan. 30, and continuing until Aug. 31.

As Sonoco widens and repairs Sonovista Drive, which passes alongside an under-construction Sonoco facility before ending at the City of Hartsville’s boat ramp, the company will also provide physical improvements to the lakefront public facilities for fishers and boaters. The existing gravel parking lot will be paved and expanded, and the aging boat ramp and dock will be repaired.

While the lakefront facilities close down for the construction and upgrade, no public boat ramps will be available on Prestwood Lake. Public waterfront access for fishing, canoeing and kayaking will remain available at the City of Hartsville’s Lawton Park, located at 716 Prestwood Drive, but the park has no launch site for larger craft.

Friday, January 11, 2013

A Moment with the Manager - Customer Service

By Natalie M. Zeigler, City Manager

Some of the City of Hartsville’s services to its residents can be found in utility customers’ monthly bills: water, sewer and the removal of solid waste, recyclables and yard debris. Many more of our services, however, aren’t on that list. From the police officers and firefighters who keep our residents safe to the grounds crews who keep our trees maintained and our streets clear, the city provides numerous benefits to those who live here. Families and athletes use our parks. Businesses and visitors benefit from the commercial and historic districts protected by our zoning and planning efforts, and also from our city events.

The way we see it, the City of Hartsville has many customers, whether or not they receive a monthly bill, and we are always striving to improve our customer service for everyone. This can include the way we interact with people in anything we do: helping those who call in to City Hall with questions or who stop in to pay their bills, those in need of building permits or business licenses and those recreating at the Coach T.B. Thomas Sports Center. Our employees undergo customer service training on everything from the way we handle requests for needed information to the way we answer our phones. We even have an internal award given every month to the employee who best demonstrated outstanding service to customers or residents.