August 30, 2021

 

The City of Newberry began spraying for mosquitos this week and plans to continue, weather permitting through Friday, September 3. Should there be inclement weather, the spraying will be moved to next week.

In a press release dated August 13, the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control announced that one human and three mosquito samples had tested positive for West Nile Virus in the Pee Dee Region. Newberry County was notified by SCDHEC over the weekend that one additional virus-positive human case has been discovered in the Newberry County area.

"Identifying mosquitoes carrying West Nile virus in our state is not uncommon," said Dr. Chris Evans, State Public Health Entomologist in the press release. "A positive identification should serve as a reminder of the importance of preventing mosquito bites."

Public Works Director Mac Bartley said the mosquito spraying within the city limits will take place after dark to limit interference with outdoor activities for residents.

Those that are beekeepers in the city are encouraged to notify the city’s Public Works department at 803-321-1020.

Care must be taken to minimize the impact to honeybees and other managed pollinators, Bartley said. This is why the City of Newberry now relies on the Integrated Pest Management System as a way to manage mosquitos.

The system is as follows:

  1. Communication and education - how the community can personally manage mosquitos.
  2. Cultural and Sanitation Controls – keeping trash and debris collected throughout the city.
  3. Physical and Mechanical Controls – eliminating breeding sites such as standing water.
  4. Using pesticides – as a last resort.

Bartley said the overuse of pesticides would cause mosquitoes to develop resistance, making pesticide spraying ineffective and cause a decline in the honeybee population.

Some effective ways the public can protect themselves and their household against mosquito bites according to SCDHEC include:

  • Eliminating all sources of standing water on their property, including flowerpots, gutters, buckets, pool covers, birdbaths, old car tires, rain gutters and pet bowls.
  • Apply insect repellent containing DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, IR3535, or 2-undecanone according to label instructions.
  • Wearing light-colored clothing to cover skin to reduce the risk of bites.
  • Making sure that doors and windows have tight-fitting screens to keep out mosquitoes.

Should residents have questions or concerns, they are encouraged to contact the city’s Public Works department directly at 803-321-1020.

The Newberry Fire Department was recently awarded a grant through the Firehouse Subs Foundation for Hometown Heroes. Thanks to this grant, Fire Chief Keith Minick says the department was able to purchase a Polaris all terrain utility vehicle.

This vehicle, Minick says will be most helpful to the city’s fire department for purposes of carrying fire suppression and rescue equipment throughout an event in the city or in and out of a wooded area.

The department was awarded the grant earlier this year. However, Firehouse Subs in Newberry recognized the department on Saturday, August 7 as part of their first responders water drive, H2O for Heroes. Each year, the organization collects water to go to local first responders and community groups to be distributed to those in need.

“Firehouse Subs is a company that bases its sales and its community involvement on being able to raise money for first responders. We’re a vessel for community support,” said Karen Wilson, regional manager of Firehouse Subs.

Wilson said the community was phenomenal, helping them through donating and that this was a really good opportunity to show how much Firehouse Subs appreciated first responders.

“This ATV will be instrumental to us for the many festivals that we have downtown and to navigate through traffic to take care of our residents and guests,” Minick said.

The ATV contains a 70-gallon water/3-gallon foam tank and will hold six firefighters.

Mayor Foster Senn said the Polaris was an impressive vehicle and great donation by Firehouse Subs.

“Whether it’s this ATV, the mural in the restaurant for the Newberry Fire Department, or the great meals that they have every day, Firehouse Subs is an outstanding corporate citizen and member of the Newberry community,” Senn said.

Minick said the Newberry Fire Department was very appreciative of the grant program that made this possible.

“We’re excited to be able to receive grants from a business in our community to better serve our citizens and visitors alike,” he said.  

 From left to right: Lt. RJ Dowd, Ashley Larson (Firehouse Subs restaurant manager), Volunteer Firefighter David Hurst, Firefighter Corey Brown, Firefighter Tim Beaudoin, Engineer Jake Longshore, Karen Wilson (Firehouse Subs Regional Manager) and Mayor Foster Senn

 The ATV contains a 70-gallon water/3-gallon foam tank and will hold six firefighters.

The City of Newberry Utilities Department celebrated a ribbon cutting Wednesday for their newest water tank. Located on Airport Road, the tank will not only serve the citizens of Newberry, but businesses such as Kraft-Heinz, located just beyond the tank itself.

Utility Director Tim Baker said that Kraft-Heinz, one of the city’s largest industrial customers, used one-third of the city’s water supply, meaning one out of every three gallons of water produced by the City of Newberry was used by the industry.

“Being that they are one-third of our system, we needed to have water storage here close to them,” he said. “Putting this tank online improves our hydraulics so much in the city. This project not only helps Kraft-Heinz and our utility, but every citizen that we serve.”

By putting this new water tank online, Baker said it will allow for needed maintenance on other water tanks in the city, including those on College and Player Streets. In order to keep water flowing, Baker said they have not been able to do necessary maintenance to other tanks and that this fall, that maintenance would begin.

Ebony Mack-Orr spoke on behalf of Newberry’s Kraft-Heinz saying they pride themselves on being a part of the Newberry family and thanked the city for their partnership.

“Anything for the community, we’re going to stand behind it,” she said. “We want to try to treat everyone here in the city and in our facility as a family member.”

City Manager Matt DeWitt said this project had been a long time coming and that they were excited to get the tank online.

“We’re excited about what this does for Kraft-Heinz, but even more excited about what this does for the community overall,” he said.

Baker said there were many partners that were involved in getting the water tank constructed and online. He thanked partners including CROM, Kinard Control Systems, Inc., Kraft-Heinz, Santee Cooper, the South Carolina Rural Infrastructure Authority, Summit Engineering, Tom Brigman Contractors, WE Baker & Son, Inc., and WEST Electrical Contractors.

For their support of the project, Baker also thanked Newberry City Council.

When something of this stature is put together, Baker said there were many tweaks that needed to be made and each partner worked with them to accomplish their goal.

“With this new water tank added to the City of Newberry water system, we are ensuring Newberry residents, businesses and industries have a water supply they can count on for decades to come,” said Mayor Foster Senn.

 Being that Kraft-Heinz is one-third of the city’s water system, the city needed to have water storage close to their plant. 

 Utility Director Tim Baker welcomed everyone to Wednesday’s ribbon cutting.

 Utility Director Tim Baker shows Liz MacDonald and Michelle Long how the water tank’s supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) system works.

 

Newberry City Council was presented a resolution Tuesday by Representative Rick Martin for the city’s recent Juneteenth festival.

“It is my great pleasure to present this to the city,” Martin said.

While Martin was not able to be at the Juneteenth celebration, he thanked council for allowing him the opportunity to present the resolution Tuesday.

Mayor Foster Senn thanked Councilmembers Jackie Holmes and Carlton Kinard for their work as part of the city’s Juneteenth committee that made the event a success in the community.

Under updates and announcements, Senn said that council had attended the Municipal Association of South Carolina’s annual meeting in July. He gave a brief review of the conference, saying the city had received the Joseph P. Riley award for their “Fiber to the Home” project as well as several staff members involved with the project having participated in a panel discussion during the meeting.

Parks, Recreation and Tourism Director Scott Sawyer provided an update for council on the Newberry Recreation Complex as well as other PRT endeavors. Sawyer noted the master plan for the recreation complex was being finalized and that the park’s splash pad would remain open through Labor Day.

City Manager Matt DeWitt updated council that the splash pad had received over 7,700 patrons since opening in May.

Other updates from Sawyer included the ponds taking shape at Wells Japanese Garden. The liners for the ponds have been installed, he said, and concrete has been poured. The restrooms at Marion Davis Park are also nearing completion.

Sawyer said the department hoped to receive word on the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) grant for Wise Street Park in the next few months.

New Business

Under new business, City Council approved an outside water request for property located on Johnstone Street.

DeWitt said Utility Director Tim Baker had been in communication with the individual looking to build four homes on the 10-acre property (TMS 399-99-2). Having talked with city police, fire and public works, DeWitt said staff was not concerned with the city’s ability to service the property.

Baker said the owner said they were interested in building four homes on the property, each at approximately 1400 square feet. While he was unsure who would be living on the property, Baker said he understood them to be road workers and that they would have some equipment parked on the rear of the property and would eventually want to build a pole building on site for the equipment.

DeWitt said from a zoning standpoint, the owner would be allowed to put the pole building in the rear of the property.

“The builder would be responsible for running any line extensions (water, sewer) on the property and obtaining the DHEC permit,” Baker said.

The owner has agreed to execute an annexation covenant indicating a willingness to annex if council determines it is in the best interest of the city to annex the property. With the property being contiguous to the city, council expressed a desire to proceed with the annexation process.

Councilman Lemont Glasgow made a motion, seconded by Councilman David DuBose to allow out-of-city water service for the property. Senn declared the motion carried following a 6-1 vote, with Councilwoman Holmes voting in opposition.

Also under new business, council approved two requests for alcohol during designated areas for events. The first being, Main Street Shop and Dine Nights.

Main Street Shop and Dine Nights are the monthly first Friday promotional nights for the downtown district and take place from 4-9 p.m. when Main Street is closed to vehicular traffic and open to pedestrians only.

The city’s Parks, Recreation and Tourism department requested permission to allow beer and wine only, served and sold from inside downtown businesses with a current alcohol license using plastic cups to be no larger than 16 ounces, taken from businesses into the outdoor event area.

The event area includes Main Street from Nance to Holman Streets only. Approval was granted for the following Shop and Dine event nights: September 3, October 1, November 5 and December 3 from 4-9 p.m.

Motion was made by Councilman David Force and seconded by Councilman Edwin Wicker.

The other request authorized was on behalf of the Hejaz Shrine Temple for their ceremonial weekend in Newberry, running Friday, October 15 through Sunday, October 17. Jamie Smith, event coordinator told council he anticipated 300-400 Shriners from the upstate to be present in Newberry that weekend.

The festivities will begin with a reception on Friday in the Newberry Opera House lobby. As in previous years, the Newberry Opera House will serve beer and wine inside the building. Because of the number of participants, Smith said they have requested the ability to overflow into Memorial Park.

Smith spoke on behalf of the event saying there would be a parade held Saturday, October 16 at 10 a.m. and he hoped for community participation.

Glasgow made a motion, seconded by Holmes to approve the request.

Following executive session, council returned to open session at the call of the chair (Senn). DuBose made a motion, seconded by Force to allow DeWitt to enter into a contract to purchase property on behalf of the PRT department. Senn declared the motion carried following a 5-1-1 vote of council, with Holmes voting in opposition and Glasgow recusing himself.

City Council will meet again on Tuesday, September 14.

 Newberry City Council was presented a resolution by Representative Rick Martin for the city's recent Juneteenth festival. From left to right: Mayor Foster Senn, Representative Rick Martin and Councilwoman Jackie Holmes. 

The City of Newberry has partnered with Bob Brookover from Clemson University’s Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management department to produce a master plan for the Newberry Recreation Complex.

The master plan is intended to serve as a non-binding guide for the future development of the complex. Brookover met with City Council Wednesday to facilitate a work session and solicit feedback.

City Manager Matt DeWitt said many had approached city staff about wants and needs for the recreation complex and they thought the best thing to do was to put a pen to paper to provide some guidance as additions are made to the park.

Brookover said while he knew a good bit about Newberry and what all had been accomplished, this discussion would be focusing in on the recreation complex and what would be possible there.

“Looking at trend information and data on the types of recreational activities, amenities and services that people are looking for, talking with you all and talking with staff about some of those options as well,” he said.

With conceptual level projects such as this, Brookover said that council would receive basic information including cost estimates and as the city had the opportunity to move forward, that they could pick things from this master plan as they moved along.

“Whether it’s one at a time or multiple projects together,” he said.

To ‘cast a wide net,’ Brookover said that once the conceptual ideas for projects had been put together, it could potentially be sent to the public for further feedback if council was interested in pursuing another work session.

Council Suggestions

Brookover solicited feedback from council and received a variety of ideas to put into a plan. Councilman Lemont Glasgow suggested an outdoor amphitheater in the park along with expansions to the park’s current Gully Washer Splash Park area. The amphitheater, Glasgow said he would love to see hold the capacity of 400-500 individuals.

With comments from Councilman David DuBose that some had expressed concerns of need a more separate area for younger and older children to play, rather than intermingle within the spray park, the idea of making the area more multidimensional was discussed.

Several members of council including Mayor Foster Senn and Councilman Edwin Wicker mentioned the possibility of adding hard surface trails to the facility, with Senn mentioning an area that cyclists could bike throughout the complex.

DeWitt asked Brookover if they could potentially look into considering opportunities to add distance to a trail by adding a walking or bike lane to the existing paved roads that weaved through the complex.

Senn said that from the start, council’s goal in the recreation complex was to create something for everyone.

“While we’ve done a pretty good job so far, we want to continue to diversify it,” he said.

Councilwoman Jackie Holmes and Councilman David Force opened a discussion on a potential area for those that enjoyed skateboarding.

Brookover said that if that was something considered by council, they’d need to weight the cost of doing that versus how many members in the community would get use out of the area.

The option of a potential miracle league field in the park was mentioned Wednesday, with Senn said the Newberry County Disabilities and Special Needs Board had shown interest in that being added to the complex.

Brookover said miracle league fields could be used for a variety of purposes and fill many needs including kickball, wiffle ball and be used for children’s practices, including t-ball.

Another goal of council for the complex, Senn said was to make it fun, educational and pretty. With that in mind, Senn thought more educational aspects could be needed to included an arboretum with a shelter that could house a classroom for outdoor learning as well as utilizing the cabin located on the property as an education center.

Other considerations discussed by council included the need for possible recreational vehicle parking for tournaments or guests, a more accessible entrance to the park’s pond and an expansion of the accessible playground equipment to create more options for children.

Overall, Brookover said the city had the right bones as far as the recreation complex was concerned, however there were things they could do to polish it up. Meeting with council, he said was helpful to get a feel for what they would like to see.

A written report, conceptual ideas and a consideration of where components might fit best will be presented to council in the near future.