Ireland Creek getting cleaned out, biking paths to be added for pedestrians

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By VICKI BROWN

An ongoing plan to clean out Ireland Creek and improve the beauty of the area continues to evolve, with new details from city leaders now being discussed.

The update regarding dredging Ireland Creek was given during Walterboro City Council’s recent meeting, held on Nov. 9th. According to Walterboro City Manager Jeff Molinari, the city’s leaders plan to remove 500-cubic yards of sediment from the creek. This plan was recently approved by city council after repeat flooding from the creek sent water pouring into nearby parking lots and apartment complexes.

“The short-term plan is to remove 500 cubic yards of sediment from the creek,” said Molinari, in a written statement. “In December, the city will formally select a firm that will develop a plan to beautify Ireland Creek to include biking/walking trails, sidewalks, pedestrian bridges, and measures to improve the drainage capacity of Ireland Creek to include erosion control, dredging and channeling the creek.”

In other news:

Election results certified

City council certified the city’s recent municipal election results. On November 4, 2021, the Walterboro Municipal Election Commission certified the results listed below for the City General Election held November 2, 2021, to elect a mayor and three city councilmembers each for a four (4) year term.

The Commission declared Bill Young as mayor and James Broderick, Carl Brown, and Greg Pryor as elected city council members. The Municipal Election Commission’s results were accepted, ratified, and confirmed by Mayor Young and the City Council of Walterboro who passed Resolution no. 2021-R-20.

Plan discussed to acquire vehicles

Walterboro City Council also passed a proposed USDA Rural Development Project plan to acquire police vehicles, light duty trucks, and equipment. The resolution authorizes the city manager and finance director to submit USDA Rural Development Community Facilities Grant applications in an amount not to exceed $162,050 for the purchase of police vehicles, light duty trucks and equipment.

To fund these purchases, the city will submit multiple applications to USDA, Rural Development for Community Facility Grants in the amount of $162,050.00 to assist community facilities in rural areas of Walterboro.

The Council adopted a resolution authorizing Jeffrey P. Molinari, city manager, and Adrienne Nettles, city clerk, to execute forms for grants.

A-Tax spending plan discussed

A request was made by the Accommodations Tax Advisory Committee to city council to approve the following requests and use 65 percent of the Tourism Fund: $15,600 from the Accommodations Tax Fund for the SC Lowcountry and Resort Islands to promote Colleton County, and $22,000 to promote the Rice Festival in 2022.

The Lowcountry Tourism Commission’s (LTC) primary mission is to stimulation economic growth and the development of the area’s tourism industry.

The Commission uses Web sites, social media outlets, national and regional advertising, personal contact and international distribution of promotional literature listing hotels, restaurants, attractions, historic sites, etc. It generates information in the Lowcountry Visitors Center, historic Frampton Plantation House, SCPRT, Travel 50 and Beyond, American Road Magazine and Living in South Carolina Magazine, Facebook and Google Display Ads, Pinterest, Southern Living Magazine, SCATR, Instagram, Twitter and billboards.

According to LTC, in 2020/2021, the commission was in direct contact with 51,075 guests and visitors who requested printed materials: 35,503 guidebooks were distributed, 5,550 attractions brochures distributed, 10,022 guests visited the Visitors Center. This is a 54.9 percent increase in this set of numbers over last year. The largest gain this year was in the requests and distribution of our collateral material, guidebooks and attractions brochures. That figure is up 74.1 percent.

Foot traffic was also up 6.7 percent. Online presence touched 372,231 digital viewers, up 33.2 percent from the previous year.

For every $1 Walterboro provides to this Project Budget, it is matched with $31.87 from other sources.

“This funding allows the commission to initiate and support tourism promotions for Walterboro and the Lowcountry, which otherwise would not be possible, and results in thousands of new inquiries, new and repeat visitors, bus tour groups, international visitors, tourism jobs, income and tax revenues for the area,” said Executive Director Peach Morrison.

Rice Festival requests money

Colleton County Rice Festival organizers requested money from the City of Walterboro Accommodations Tax fund to bring in top notch entertainment for visitors. The funding will be used for the Rice Run, Tour de Lowcountry, Hillbilly Science Show, Mighty Kicks, The Catalinas, Fireworks Finale, and Palmetto Amusements. “We are working toward the 2022 festival hoping everything will be back to normal on April 29, 30, 2022,” said festival Organizer Josh Bell, in a written statement.

Now in its 47th year, the Southern Tourism Society has recognized the festival as one of the top 20 events, which covers 12 states. It has become a premier springtime event throughout the Palmetto State and offers something for every age and taste. In 2021, an estimated 12,000 visitors attended the festival over the weekend long event. The festival is drawing more out of town people and getting bigger each year.

This year there will be an event guide that will be distributed outside our community to further promote the city and community.

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