Conway’s Recreation Department is scrambling to keep people entertained and safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.
One of the changes this year will be a drive-thru Easter Egg Hunt, coming March 27 from 9 a.m.-11 a.m. June Wood with the recreation department told Conway City Council Monday night that a traditional Easter Egg Hunt is too dangerous this year because it draws a huge crowd that hunts eggs in a limited space and hunters bring along lots of spectators.
For the drive-thru event, people will stay in their cars and be given eggs filled with candy. Some of the eggs will have certificates for prizes that might include some larger candy, toys and even a bicycle. Prizes will be awarded the next week to youngsters who take their winning certificates, found in their eggs, to the recreation department.
In the past, the egg hunt has been grouped according to age, but this year any age can come anytime and eggs will be distributed on a first-come, first-serve basis.
Wood says people who want to collect eggs should enter the recreation park through the back of the baseball field and line up there. Police will be on hand to help with traffic.
Conway SuperStars coming
Conway Mayor Barbara Blain-Bellamy was pleased to learn that the department is already planning this year’s Conway’s SuperStars competition to be held Aug. 14 in the McCown Auditorium on Main Street.
There will be three categories this year with a limited number of contestants and a limited number of supporters allowed into the auditorium for each contestant.
“The talent is just enormous,” Blain-Bellamy said.
Councilman William Goldfinch said he might be too optimistic, but he hopes that by then a majority of Conwayites will have taken a COVID shot and maybe they’ll be able to offer the competition with a minimum of restrictions.
The Conway Parks and Recreation Department is planning to hold its Summer Camp this year and will begin taking applications from campers in March.
Conway council and staff agree that working parents need something structured for the children to do during the summer.
Take a swim
City Deputy Administrator/Grants Coordinator John Rogers assured Councilman Larry White that the Smith-Jones Swimming Pool will be ready for swimmers sometime this summer, but not just as soon as warm weather comes.
He said the city has a $240,000 grant that has a balance of $152,158 now that can be used on the pool; however, the new pool will be slightly different than the old pool that popped up out of the ground during a flooding event.
They’ll use the current shell in the reconstruction, but they’ll cut off the bottom of the deep end so the new pool will be similar to the old pool. It just won’t have a deep end.
Although White had also asked for a splash pad for the park on U.S. 378, that won’t happen.
Rogers said adding the splash pad would require making a new project for the pool and that would prevent the pool from being ready for swimmers anytime this summer.
Council then unanimously approved spending the Community Development Block Grant funds for the swimming pool.
City Administrator Adam Emrick told council that the city’s COVID-19 impact is lessening, although still present. He said the city has only two employees, who have tested positive for the virus, out now and three in quarantine.
He called that a big improvement over past months.
Power lines down; water levels up
A project to drop the power lines on Fourth Avenue is finally done, according to City Administrator Adam Emrick.
He said having the power lines and poles down just gives the street a different feel.
“You just know it feels better. It’s amazing how much difference it makes,” Emrick said.
He believes the city’s investments in itself will draw redevelopment to the area. Without the power poles and lines he foresees trees being able to grow and form a canopy that will make the road more desirable to developers and businesses.
Emrick says the city has already recorded 8-feet, 3-inches of rain this year and it’s falling on already swollen rivers.
The river level was 11.75-feet Monday night, which is minor flood stage. Emrick expects it will get to 12.2 by this weekend, that’s moderate flood stage.
When it hits 12 feet they have to close the boat ramp at the Conway Marina. If the river hits 13 feet, they have to close the Riverfront Park’s playground and remove the electrical connections. If it gets to 13.5 feet, it could affect Laurel and Elm streets.
New information director
June Wood, who has doubled as the city’s public information director for the past months will return full time to her position as assistant director of the city’s recreation department.
Brooke Holden, who has worked for television in the past and most recently as the information director for the Horry County Sheriff’s Office will begin filling the Conway position Monday.