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A Wall of Fame for influential Fort Mill residents among considerations for new committees

Thomas "Kanawha" Spratt, Fort Mill's first settler?

Col. Elliott White Springs, aviator and founder of the town's textile industry?

George Fish, who campaigned and won a proper school for the town's black children?

Eli Bailes, notable veteran after whom Fort Mill's American Legion post is named?

Anne Springs Close, environmental advocate, philanthropist, matriarch of the Springs textile empire?

Those Fort Mill residents and others might be considered candidates for the town's inaugural Wall of Fame.

The much-contemplated Fort Mill Wall of Fame could materialize in coming months now that the town council has acted on Mayor Danny Funderburk's recommendations in creating more volunteer committees.

More community involvement was one of the new mayor's campaign promises. The Wall of Fame volunteer committee was among the first-named.

Members of the Fort Mill Wall of Fame Committee will start with "a clean slate," the mayor said. "This has never been done before (in Fort Mill)."

Their mission will be to determine who, what and where the wall will be and submit recommendations to the Town Council.

The idea presented itself a few years ago, but this is the first time the town has acted on it.

Funderburk sees it as an ongoing project in which the wall would have an inaugural class, but two or perhaps three people would be added each year.

"We essentially thought it was important we recognize people who were instrumental in making Fort Mill such a special place," he said. "People move here, and they know it's special, but they don't know the people who made it such a special place."

It might begin as pictures and plaques along a wall in city hall and grow into something bigger, Funderburk said.

"My goal was just to get it going," he said. "We'd like the committee to set up the format in a specific way. We need people to fine-tune the details."

He expects the process to take about six months.

Thomas Spratt, who will serve on the committee, envisions the wall as "a place of prominence in town for people who have had a tremendous impact on the educational, economic and spiritual aspect of the town."

"Fort Mill has a long and storied history," he said. "I hope it will be an ongoing dynamic, past, present and future."

New committees include Veterans Memorial Park, Keep Fort Mill Beautiful, a Storm Water Advisory Committee and a Building Code Board of Appeals. New members also have been added to the Historic Review Board.

The Storm Water and Building Code groups will be boards to which property owners can appeal decisions by town staff. The beautification committee could help the town qualify for grants to upgrade neighborhoods, Funderburk said.

Both the Wall of Fame and Veterans Memorial Park can provide venues to recognize citizens past, present and future. The veterans park site already has been staked at the end of Main Street across the railroad tracks off White Street.

"My concept for the park is that it will recognize all veterans from the Revolutionary War to the war in Iraq and on into the future," Funderburk said.

Now, it's up to the committee.

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