By: Natalie M. Zeigler
City Manager

It’s a season of gratitude. This week families gather together to celebrate all for which they have to be thankful. I am encouraged to do the same. Often times I think it’s easier for us to dwell on the negative, to only consider what we don’t have. There is always room for improvement, and striving for better is noble. I also believe it is important to look at what is around us and to compare now to what has been. It is critical to take a moment to pause and give thanks for signs of progress.

I’m grateful to work with a team that shares a vision of what could be while remaining committed to the work needed to get us there. Together, we continually pursue chances to improve the quality of life for citizens and establish attractions for guests to the area. Driving along Fourteenth Street and Russell Road, one will notice construction at Byerly Park. At the start of November 2017, the City of Hartsville broke-ground at the site of our waterpark expansion on the Piratesville Splash Pad. Set to be completed summer of 2018, this updated attraction will hold new features, including a 1000-foot lazy river, a wave pool, a speed body slide, a pair of tubular water slides and three mat racing slides. Cabana rentals, party huts, and food trucks will also cater to a capacity of 1,300 visitors, eight-times the current Splash Pad.

Last week many gathered downtown to kick-off Hartsville for the Holidays with the Downtown Holiday Open House and Centennial Tree Lighting. Businesses along Carolina Avenue, College Avenue and Fifth Street had extended shopping hours and will continue to every Thursday until December 21st. The event was a reminder of the regular happenings occurring downtown throughout the year, and the growing number of successful shops in our city center.  A downtown bustling with entrepreneurial spirit and a steady stream of events is an indication that Hartsville is prosperous.

Sometimes I get frustrated when plans do not appear to be moving as fast as they could. But in these moments I try to remind myself that there is a process in all things. We’re taking steps to support greater economic development and innovation in our region. Hartsville is a beacon in the area; a small southern city that continues to thrive. While municipalities of similar sizes are drying out across America, Hartsville is flooded with new opportunities for economic growth. The City is moving forward with its proposed industrial park. The proposed project area is expected to be a 225-acre site constructed along S. Marquis Hwy. (Route 15) with the potential to create more jobs for residents incentivizing new businesses to come to Hartsville, significantly changing the landscape of the city.

Hartsville continues to defy expectations and redefine the expectations of a city our size. I appreciate all that this municipality has to offer and all that makes it unique. I’m grateful for the opportunity to serve an active community filled with individuals ready to make positive change. I’m thankful for Hartsville.