Summerton Mayor Mac Bagnal recently started his second four-year term. His primary goal for this term? As is shown on his hat, he wants to "Make Summerton Great Again."
While Bagnal didn’t come from a political background, he has always been involved in the community. He’s been a member of the Junior Chamber of Commerce for 17 years, is on the board of Clarendon Hall, is director of South Carolina Waterfowl Association and, with his wife, ran the Summerton Athletic Club for more than six years, getting kids ages 3-12 involved in sports.
When Bagnal became mayor, he wanted to continue his service to the community.
“I knew Summerton was home to me and my family," he said.
He began efforts to clean up the trash, get stray dogs off the streets and keep grass cut in common areas in the town. He envisioned a town where people could raise families, teach their children to ride bicycles on the streets and ride around on golf carts to socialize.
However, he feels Summerton encompasses more than just the town itself. He considers all of 29148 a part of Summerton.
“We want you to come here and shop. We want you to come and be a part of the Summerton Athletic Club," he said. "Your kids go to school here.”
A major thrust has been strengthening the business community. While some businesses left, others stayed and, as Bagnal puts it, weathered the storm. New businesses are popping up, and the town council is working on codes and ordinances which will mandate that commercial property owners bring their buildings up to current code standards. This will allow more new businesses to come into Summerton, as there will be available storefront property to rent or purchase.
Currently Bagnal is excited about two major projects which will greatly affect Summerton. Raj Patel, owner of a series of convenience stores in the area, has purchased property and is waiting on research study results to choose either an IGA or a Save-A-Lot grocery store to bring to Summerton. Lamar Kennedy will work behind the scenes as much as he can and may manage the store once it’s open.
The second project is out at I95. The Summerton Inn closed many years ago, but no one chose to improve the property after that time. Last week, Bagnal received word that a deal has been made for a new group to purchase the 15 acres upon which the old inn stands with the intent of building a truck stop/travel center. Each of these projects will bring jobs and commerce to Summerton, building the town up and providing new services.
In the meantime, Bagnal and the council have brainstormed several community projects, hoping for a high amount of local involvement. Duck Fest was initiated to bring people together to have fun, as well as bring business to the area. With the money raised each year, the town funds other community programs, including the recent Easter Egg hunt. One thousand eggs were provided for the children’s event, and games were set up at 4 MAIN. Duck Fest paid for the eggs, prizes and food.
This past Christmas, Duck Fest funds also paid for a tree-lighting. Santa arrived and read stories, and residents provided hot chocolate and hot cider while Christmas carols were sung. Summerton Super Saturday was held in April, and once again the community came out to support each other.
Up next is movie night on June 11. The event will be on Ridgeway Square. Although Bagnal is not yet sure what movie will be shown, he is hoping the Duck Fest fund can provide food for the event. “We’re trying to do as much as we can with the resources we have.”
Bagnal hopes Summerton residents will join in the efforts to revamp the town. He wants people to take pride in their outdoor areas, both at home and in the community, and he urges everyone to come out and support local events and local businesses. But at the heart of the effort, Bagnal’s biggest question remains simple. “What can I do to make a difference?”