I would like to take a moment to provide our annual State of the City report. The City has an annual budget of approximately 9.7 million dollars and is in a strong financial position. We are expecting a busy and productive year in 2024 as numerous projects are on-going and planned that include the following:
American Recovery Plan
As you know, the city has been a recipient of funding from the American Recovery Plan recently passed by Congress. The following expenditures have been approved from this funding:
- A new grapple truck has been purchased to better maintain streets and right of ways by removing debris in a timely manner. In the past when the old truck has been down it has caused issues and created unsightly streets for a brief period of time. We now have two trucks and should be able to keep up with debris pickup even if one of the trucks experiences mechanical failure.
- Broadband access at city parks is an on-going initiative. Wi-Fi access is currently available at Gibbons Street Park, and we anticipate having the other parks on-line in the near future. All parks should have wi-fi availability by the spring of 2024.
- Public Safety Equipment - The City has purchased 2 additional fire-trucks for our Fire Department as well as new radios and other Safety Equipment for Public Safety. One of the trucks is a brand-new pumper that we are fortunate to now own. The other is a used engine that better equips us to manage structure fires that are widespread or in tall buildings. Both engines better prepare us to serve and protect the property of our citizens and business owners. The city received a $440,000 grant from the USDA to purchase these engines. The city is also in the process of installing a camera system at several intersections within the city limits that will help solve and deter criminal activity within the city limits. This system should be installed and active by early spring. The city is committed to providing the best equipment and solutions to protect our citizens and our personnel.
Park Additions and Improvements
The City has received approximately $1.7m in grant monies to construct a new recreational facility, Church Street Town Centre. The design of the facility is currently underway, and we hope to begin construction in the first half of this year. This new facility will feature a walking path, a water feature, serve as an outdoor venue for outdoor concerts, and offer several other amenities.
The city is also continuing to pursue additional recreational opportunities for our city and community.
Water and Sewer
In 2023 the city completed the renovation of our Highway 301 Elevated Water Storage Tank. This was funded through a grant in the amount of $500,000 from the SC Rural Infrastructure Authority. These tanks are vital in maintaining and sustaining our water system. We also have plans to perform maintenance on our other tanks in the near future. In September of 2023 the City received an $8M grant from the Rural Infrastructure Authority to replace sewer lines in the downtown area. Some of these lines are more than 100 years old and are beginning to be problematic. This project should begin in the summer of this year. The city has also received an $8.2M grant from the State of South Carolina to mitigate drainage issues in and around the City of Manning. This project will be a multi-phase project and will take several months to complete. We do anticipate the first phase of this project to begin the first half of 2024.
Our community continues to prosper from an economic development perspective. We’re very fortunate to have welcomed several retail establishments recently that have included Chick-Fil-A as well as Arby’s; there is also a Quik-Trip Station under construction near the interstate as well as a new hotel. We’re witnessing a considerable amount of development around 1-95, which is great for Manning. However, we also need to continue attracting business for our downtown merchants. The Church Street Town Centre will assist with continued economic development opportunities for downtown. Several retailers continue to show interest and we anticipate additional announcements in 2024.
Though the challenges are considerable in our nation and state, we look forward to the year with great anticipation! As always, let us remain true to our city’s motto: “Matchless for Beauty and Hospitality.”