The Conway Sports & Fitness Center plans to give back to the Conway community Saturday morning by giving away more than 150 bookbags, according to Janic Hopkins, the center’s community relations coordinator.
Better known to Conway’s kids as “Mammi”, Hopkins says the bags will be filled with everything from markers and crayons, to pencils, masks, hand sanitizers, glue sticks, notebooks, Conway Sports & Fitness Center t-shirts and more.
Hopkins says they’ve been getting lots of donations and can still take more, but Thursday is the deadline to donate to the drive-thru event planned for Saturday morning at 9 a.m.
Hopkins said there will be some clear bookbags for middle and high schoolers to keep them in line with school rules.
Recreation officials want the children who are getting the bookbags to be in the cars when they drive up to collect their school supplies.
The bags will be distributed on a first-come, first-serve basis until they’re gone.
“…they’ll see us under the tents and they’ll know they just got to drive around. It’ll be marked off pretty well,” Hopkins said.
For those who drive up after the bookbags are gone, the department will offer what they’re calling “overflow bags” that are the regular recreation department bags.
Hopkins says this won’t be the only event targeting students this school year. She is already planning something for January.
“We want to let the community know we have something to offer you,” she said.
Her motive for putting forth this effort is simple.
“I like dealing with the kids,” she said.
Free recycling containers
The City of Conway will be giving away 500 rollout-recycling bins, thanks to a grant.
This is the second time the city has been able to give away the carts that typically cost $46.
City Administrator Adam Emrick says the larger carts (65 gallons) have increased the city’s recycling by 17 percent, which results in a 17 percent savings to the city for its solid waste costs.
Some city council members think it’s time to remind people what they can and can’t recycle. Council members want to remind citizens that plastic bags and pizza boxes are not recyclable items.
They also talked about ways to encourage people to increase their recycling.
Call (843) 248-1780.
Cultra Road development
Conway City Council discussed the possibility of annexing 6.3 acres along both sides of Cultra Road that developers want to divide into 13 lots, but no action was taken on the issue.
Deputy City Administrator/Planning and Development Director Mary Catherine Hyman said the majority of the planned development has already been annexed so city rules require this parcel to be annexed if its residents want city services.
Councilman Larry White wanted to make sure that there are sidewalks added along Cultra Road, but engineer Ryan Harvey said the S.C. Department of Transportation has plans to widen Cultra Road sometime within the next 10 years. Because of that, developers don’t want to build sidewalks that will be torn up. They prefer to leave a 15-foot buffer between the road and their development. They also plan to have only one driveway for every two houses.
However, Harvey said they do plan to build a sidewalk along Oak Street, plus add street trees.
Hyman pointed out that sidewalks will be required if the property comes into the city, but won’t be required if it stays in the county’s jurisdiction.
Conway Mayor Barbara Blain-Bellamy said she has noticed recently that pedestrian traffic is increasing on Cultra Road, but she doesn’t know where it’s coming from.
People who don’t build sidewalks can be required to pay the city a fee in lieu of the sidewalks.
“I’m as excited about the widening of the road as all of the changes that are going to occur in that area,” the Mayor said.
Council agreed to close Skipper Road that runs from Oak Street to Cultra Road. There were no comments given during the public hearing on this issue.
But in an unrelated issue, council turned down a request for annexation at 1049 Academy Drive after Hyman told them there are no other homes on that stretch of road and annexation of that one-third of an acre would pose problems for city staff.
Council agreed to award a contract for $407,386 to Palmetto Corporation of Conway to resurface three state roads that were damaged in the Hurricane Florence flooding, plus one city street.
The streets set for resurfacing are Sherwood Drive from Lakeside Drive to Country Club Drive, Long Avenue from Lakeland Drive to Country Club Drive and Busbee Street from Sherwood Drive to Lakeland Drive and Pantheon Drive from Kirkland Drive to Elkford Drive.
The year’s city budget includes $679,000 for street resurfacing and asphalt repairs. That includes a 50 percent match of $339,500 from the Horry County Transportation Committee.
Eating ice cream
Council didn’t hesitate to give All God’s Children Love Ice Cream permission to take their sales of pre-packaged ice cream products to Collins Park. In fact, they expanded their permission to all city parks after Councilman Larry White wondered if they might be allowed in Smith-Jones and other parks.
The only city park the mobile business won’t be allowed to sell in is the Sports & Fitness Center, where concessions are sold through a franchise agreement with the vendor.
City Administrator Adam Emrick told Conway City Council Monday afternoon that it will cost $150,000 to replace the Smith-Jones Swimming Pool that has been out of commission all summer.
He said city officials hope to have it back open by next season. One option is to cut the length of the pool and make the deep-end a little shallower, which will cut $20,000 from the price.
When Councilwoman Jean Timbes asked about progress on replacing the Riverfront Tennis Center, Emrick said the city has $875,000 earmarked for the center, but added that the city has a spending freeze in place for things that aren’t emergencies or urgent.
City council has expressed concerns in the past that COVID-19 might cut into the city’s tax and business license collections so staff is trying to make sure they don’t get the city into a “pinch”.
Emrick said the city finished the past fiscal year fine, but he’s still worried about this year.
He says some of the tennis money might need to be diverted to more important things, like the Smith-Jones pool.