As the end of December and the end of 2018 quickly approaches, I can hardly believe at all that our City has accomplished in just one year! I am also very excited at the opportunities that lie ahead of us in 2019.
Just one year ago, when we reflected on 2017, we were planning for an expansion that was coming to Piratesville Splash Pad. Less than six months from the column, we opened the expansion now known as Neptune Island Waterpark. Neptune Island welcomed over 64,000 visitors through its doors in the 2018 season. There was a large volume of attendees within a 75 mile radius of Hartsville that drove in to visit the waterpark. We welcomed visitors from a total of 25 states this summer and look to expand that even more next year. Neptune Island was also awarded by the World Waterpark Association for the Best Brochure and Best Website in their category of less than 100,000 attendees. Our team has put in a tremendous amount of effort into the waterpark this year to make its first season successful. We are very excited about taking the time this off season to learn from the feedback we received and prepare for an even better 2019 season!
This year brought the opening of the EdVenture Satellite Museum in Hartsville. This is an amazing space for kids and fills another gap that our City had. Local businesses in collaboration with the City and those at EdVenture truly came together to create a museum filled with mini learning exhibits centered around places the children see in Hartsville. They can learn valuable life skills while taking a look inside many local businesses in a safe environment at EdVenture. We are so very excited about this kid friendly addition to our City!
Hurricane Florence in early September was quite an eventful time for the City of Hartsville. As the storm turned and slowed down, we were very hopeful that Hartsville would get by unscathed, but our Emergency Operations Team proceeded forward with preparing the entire City for the worst case scenario. We had emergency officials stationed in three satellite locations across the City for optimal response time should they be needed. As the storm passed, we were thankfully spared by the high winds and damage we typically associate with hurricanes. The struggles for Hartsville came in the days following the storm as a result of heavy rains received upstream of Black Creek. Our City stood together to inform residents of the dangers, redistribute sandbags to those along Black Creek, and relocate families that wanted to seek shelter from the potential flooding. Overall, we were very fortunate that we did not experience mass flooding like some of our neighboring towns did. We were very proud of the ways that Hartsvillians came together during this storm. We did not see widespread crime, we saw residents working together for their neighbors.
As always, the latter part of the year is a very fun time for Hartsville. We welcomed bands to College Avenue for the Downtown Block Party Concert Series. The bands and attendees were quite faithful to us as we had to cancel and reschedule due to Hurricane Florence and other heavy rainstorms that we experienced. The Halloween Season brought another successful Treats on the Streets event to Hartsville. This event saw over 1,000 children that came to Hartsville in their Halloween best toting bags full of candy downtown. We finish out 2018 with our favorite time of the year. Our Public Services crews line the streets of Hartsville with garland, lights, banners, and so much more! Local businesses fill their windows with snowflakes, lights, trees, and their favorite holiday merchandise. It is truly a group effort to get ready for Hartsville for the Holidays. Our Hartsville for the Holidays Series was filled with so many activities to get the entire family ready for Christmas. We hosted the Centennial Tree Lighting, weekly Holiday Open House Events, and the Annual Hartsville Christmas Parade. So many people volunteered much of their time to make these events successful and for that, we are so thankful!
As 2019 approaches rather quickly, we are most excited to see some changes in our Canal District located between Coker Avenue and Fourth Street. We are very busy planning for what we envision this district to look like and are excited at the opportunities that our City could see by growing this district. We are also excited and hopeful that conversations staff is having with developers will bring more business announcements to Hartsville in 2019!
May you all have a wonderful holiday season. On behalf of the City of Hartsville, I would like to wish you a safe and prosperous new year in Hartsville!