September 18, 2023
Daniel Fisher and Durham Harrison, owners of Fisher Films shared with Newberry City Council on Tuesday their intent of filming a Christmas movie, primarily in Newberry during the weekend of November 17.
What originally began as a stage play of Harrison’s, has been adapted into a Christmas script and when scouting locally, Fisher said Newberry was the perfect location for the film.
Fisher Films plans to film Friday, November 17 during the city’s annual Christmas tree lighting, as an overall bigger picture of the event. The following day, they plan to bring in their actors and invites the community to participate as extras for those scenes.
Fisher said they planned to work with others in the area such as Newberry Manor, the Newberry Museum and The Gallery Tearoom. With some shots taking place in Beaufort, SC, approximately 75-80% of the film, he said would be shot in Newberry.
Their goal for the film would be to have it available via streaming services with an anticipated release date during the 2024 holiday season.
Other good news and updates were shared by Mayor Foster Senn to include city employee spotlights – Shakeen Collins and Gretchen Haskett, new Oakland Tennis Pro Mark Gardiner, ribbon cuttings at Newberry College facilities, the first responders’ monument dedication by Community Hall and a remembrance ceremony of fallen officers, including Newberry’s own Lt. Michael Wood.
Senn also shared an update about the federal government’s Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), which gives a family or individual $30 off per month on their internet bill if they meet certain qualifications. Qualifications include household income, if you/your child/dependent participate in certain government assistance programs such as SNAP, Medicaid, WIC or other programs, or if you or anyone in your household already receives a Lifeline benefit.
More information on the program is available at affordableconnectivity.gov/do-i-qualify/.
Several proclamations were presented Tuesday, the first designating September 15-October 15 as National Hispanic Heritage Month. Another was presented designating September 17-23 as Constitution Week.
During the month of October, the week of October 1-7 was designated as Public Power Week through a proclamation signed by Senn and October 8-14 as Fire Prevention Week.
Assistant City Manager Jeff Wicker provided council with an update on the US EPA Brownfields Assessment Grant to say the next task force meeting would be held on September 28 at 6 p.m. in the Oakland Community Center.
“The more people we have to attend, the more we can put this grant to work for the entire city of Newberry,” Wicker said.
The grant allows the City of Newberry to administer funds on current or former industrial or commercial properties to determine the appropriateness for continued or better use.
Wicker said it was a great opportunity to take properties that may be considered blighted or that had concerns of potential contaminants and allows the city to administer funds to alleviate those concerns.
Wicker said he had been and would continue to give presentations to community groups to spread the word about the grant program.
Second and final reading of an ordinance was passed to amend the zoning and future land use map for a parcel located on 301 Holly Circle to R8. Motion to approve was made by Councilperson Lemont Glasgow and seconded by Councilperson Edwin Wicker.
Prior to second reading, a public hearing was held of an ordinance to amend the zoning map for the parcel, with no one speaking in favor or opposition.
Second and final reading of the property on Holly Circle was then held to annex the property into the city limits.
Second and final reading of an ordinance to amend the zoning and future land use map for a parcel located at 2518 Main Street to R6 was also approved by council. Motion to approve second reading was made by Councilperson David Force and seconded by Councilperson David DuBose.
Prior to second reading, a public hearing was held of the ordinance, with no one speaking in favor or opposition.
Under new business, council made an amendment to the previously approved alcohol request for the September 15 Newberry Shop and Dine night to include adding a wine walk hosted by the Newberry Downtown Development Association.
Two considerations for alcohol requests were then approved – one to allow alcohol in designated areas of the wine walk on September 15 and the other for Newberry Shop and Dine Night on October 6.
Moving forward, Interim City Manager Ed Driggers suggested establishing a policy to grant permission for these events to be held, delegating the authority of approving to the city manager in compliance with the policy.
“Then, if there are exceptions to that policy that are being requested, those certainly would be brought to council for consideration,” he said. “It would allow for routine requests to be approved in an expedited manner."
Jeff Wicker presented a plan to council to add an additional wayfinding sign at the corner of Lindsay and Main Streets directing visitors to Wells Japanese Garden. Wicker said a citizen brought it to council’s attention that there were no signs directing people to the gardens and city staff explored the possibility by reading out to Creative Impressions, the company that did the city’s original wayfinding signage.
Wicker said signage would be ordered and installed by the city’s Public Works department.
Other updates included the passing of a resolution committing the city to provide a local cash match for a Community Development Block Grant from the SC Department of Commerce.
Planning and Development Director Wayne Redfern said the grant funds 90% of the cost of demolition of the properties, Redfern said, with the stipulation that the city pay the remaining 10% of the costs.
These funds were already allocated in this year’s budget for the city. The city’s portion of the funding amounts to $26,850. Motion to approve the resolution was made by Glasgow and seconded by Councilperson Jackie Holmes.
Another resolution was passed committing the city to provide a local cash match for a Municipal Association of South Carolina (MASC) Hometown Economic Development Grant and following its procurement policy when securing services and products with grant funds.
Driggers said the city was resubmitting the project for the Willowbrook Park scout cabin. While resources have already been appropriated in this year’s budget, if grant funding was secured, those dollars would give the city the flexibility to use within other areas of the park, he said.
This grant would require at least a 15% match of the city because of Newberry’s population size, Jeff Wicker told council. Motion to approve the resolution was made by Holmes and seconded by DuBose.
First reading was passed of an ordinance to repeal and replace chapter 9, article 5 of the city’s code of ordinances to better address solid waste collection and disposal.
Following a recent work session by council and the previous decision to eliminate the city’s commercial garbage program, that the city’s language in its code of ordinances needed to be updated.
This language would eliminate commercial garbage from the code of ordinances as well as establish a uniform fee schedule of $15 per utility account holder in the city’s central business district for garbage collection services. This would take effect January 1, 2024, Driggers said. The city will not be eliminating the community bins from the central business district, but rather contracting out a company to collect those for them. Motion to approve first reading was made by Holmes and seconded by Councilperson Carlton Kinard.
In his report to council, Driggers mentioned that he was continuing meetings with employees and finishing operational visits with staff to city facilities. Working with Newberry County, he advised council that he was looking deeper into the Capital Project Sales Tax funding and the county’s expectations, how projects were managed, etc. Driggers mentioned city employee health screenings coming up and that open enrollment was during the month of October.
Newberry City Council will hold their next meeting on Tuesday, October 10 at 7 p.m.
Hispanic Heritage Month Proclamation