July 2019 Council Highlights

  • Council held three public hearingsthis month, to receive public comments on the following:
    • Construction of a 40-unit townhouse development within the commercial portion of Sumter West Subdivision on Constitution Drive and Brushwood Drive.
    • Rezoning three parcels, located at 106, 108 and 112 Newberry Street from General Residential to Residential-6. They have also asked for the same parcels to be annexed into the City.
    • Rezoning a 0.18 acre parcel, located at 840 South Harvin Street from Residential-6 to Commercial.
  • Council authorized a contract, to B&B Construction Company, of Sumter, to extend the city sewer line approximately 550 feet, on Alice Drive to Highway 521.
  • Council authorized a contract, to Hood Construction Company, Columbia, to construct a new entrance to Swan Lake Iris Gardens, which includes a new massive 24-foot swan sculpture by world renowned artist Grainger McKoy. This project is being paid for by the generosity of private grant funding.
    • The main entry area to Swan Lake Iris Gardens (the entire entry and exit areas, which includes parking near the Main Gate, Visitors Center, Iris Market and children’s playground) will be closing July 29 for approximately six months for the duration of the construction of the new entrance. While the main gate and main parking area will be unavailable, there are three additional entry gates, one on the North side, by the Gazebo and two close to the Heath Pavilion, along Garden Street. Please remember, for safety concerns the public is asked not to park along Garden Street, but in designated parking areas. There are two large, bus accessible parking fields at the Heath for patrons and two large parking areas on the Gazebo side, including a bus accessibility off Bland Avenue, with a pedestrian bridge to provide for safe access across Liberty Street. The bridge offers the convenience of both stairs and elevators for all patrons.
    • Plans for Fantasy of Lights continue as usual; as the City will host a holiday light show this year. However, the display may vary from previous years and may be reduced in some areas due to construction. We thank you in advance for your patience. The location of our opening ceremony will be announced once we get closer to the date.
  • Council has authorized through final reading to expand its Smoking Ordinance definition to include the use of electronic cigarettes and other alternative nicotine products. The City’s Smoking Ordinance prohibits smoking in all city vehicles and facilities, including all parks. Anyone smoking around a city property must be at least 10 feet away from that property. More details on this ordinance and more are available through our website at https://www.sumtersc.gov/council/ordinances.


  • The City won an Inspiration Award from the Municipal Association of South Carolina, whichrecognizes members' achievements and successes in downtown revitalization. Specifically, the award highlights the new Hyatt Place hotel, stating that walkability is so important to successful downtowns, and hotels are vital to walkability. The planning for a downtown hotel took many years and much dedication by City staff and investors, and the payoff is already being seen in the form of more visitors to Downtown Sumter because of a convenient place to stay. It's proof that preparation and planning always pay off in the end.
  • Sumter Housing Study community presentation will be held on Tuesday, July 23 from 5-7 at the City Centre. We will review study findings, conclusions and recommendations on housing issues in Sumter. For more information, contact George McGregor in the planning office at 803-774-1606.
  • City continues to work with several agencies and programs on workforce development initiatives:
    • The City of Sumter Youth Employment Co-Op Program is well underway, having placed 28 youth in summer jobs. Youth have been employed by several partners, including Partners for Change, Deas Law Firm, Weston Law Firm, UBI South East, Jehovah and the Housing Authority. The City not only helps with ½ of their salary, but more importantly provides job training, including soft skills, like how to dress, mock interviews, career development and more.
    • Additionally, approximately 40 youth have been selected to participate in the annual Youth Corp program. Students learn things like teamwork, organizational skills, proper management of money, influence of positive attitudes, taking personal initiative and more. The participants help to maintain 14 city parks weekly. Youth Corp participants also visit places like Shaw AFB, Sumter County Museum, BMW Motor Works of Greenville, Wonder Works in Myrtle Beach, Carolina Safari of the Low Country, Boeing in Charleston, Sumter County Museum and Carowinds throughout the summer.
    • Staff continue to assist Shaw AFB’s Teen Mock Interviewprogram, where youth 13-17 get prepared to enter the workforce. Teens participate in mock interviews, learn how to handle difficult interview questions with ease and prepare for what might be asked.
  • There are three seasonal farmer’s marketsin and around Sumter this Summer! Each one hosts a variety of vendors that feature food, arts & crafts and much more.
    • Friday’s from 1 PM – 6 PM – USC Sumter, off Miller Road
    • Friday’s from 2 PM – 6 PM – South Sumter, beside the Resource Center, off Manning Avenue
    • Saturday’s from 8:30 AM – 12:30 PM – Downtown Sumter at the Corner of Main and Liberty Streets
  • Downtown Fourth Fridays – July 26 at 6:30. This month it’s the Swift Creek Band! Held every fourth Friday, through September, these live concerts are held on Main Street in Downtown Sumter and admission is free. Bring your lawn chairs, but no coolers allowed. Food and beverages available for purchase. For more information, visit DigItDowntown.com.
  • The Sumter Opera House Summer Cinema Series is back with an all-new lineup of movies sure to please! We have show times at 10am, 1pm and 7pm (unless otherwise noted) and admission is just $1. We will also have concessions available for purchase. For more information, visit www.sumteroperahouse.com. Movie schedule is:
    • July 23 – Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
    • July 30 – The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part
    • August 6 – Mary Poppins Returns
    • August 13 – Dumbo (2019)
  • Beat the summer heat at any one of the City’s five (5) spray parks or the Aquatics Center. The five locations for our spray parks are Crosswell Park, North HOPE Park, South Sumter Park, Birnie HOPE Park and Palmetto Park. Use of the spray parks is free all summer long, so bring the whole family. The Aquatics Center, located at 1115 S. Lafayette Drive, has plenty of programs and open swim, admission for youth (ages 3-12) is $2, adults are $3 (non-swimmer, $1), family passes and military discounts are available. For more info, visit sumterswim.com.

Regular City Council meetings are held in the Council Chambers on the 4th floor of the Opera House. City residents are encouraged to attend. Next month our meetings will be on August 6 at 1 PM and August 20 at 5:30 PM