The town's first term mayor said he wanted to put the talents of the Fort Mill's residents to work. With the creation of several new volunteer boards and committees, he's doing just that.
"If you've got 15 to 20 people that want to work in a specific area, I say let them go to it," Mayor Danny Funderburk said.
Part of Fundeburk's campaign was a promise to create the volunteer groups to recommend policy to the town council on certain issues, thereby bringing more community input into council decisions. The boards and committees also could help reduce the workload on town employees.
The volunteer bodies include the Veterans' Memorial Committee, Arts Commission, Wall of Fame Committee and Parks and Recreation Commission. Each one is headed by a town staff member and will serve in an advisory role only, Funderburk said.
Each board or committee will deal with issues specific to its area of expertise. For example, the Wall of Fame Committee will be tasked with coming up with a nominating process and suggestions on how to display town residents honored, Funderburk said. Any final decision would have to be made by the town council.
Fort Mill's Art Commission held its first meeting Tuesday. The commission was opened to all township residents to take advantage of creative ideas from people throughout the larger community.
"I've been an artist for years. Once I met the Harpers I got really involved," Tega Cay resident Marcia Buike said, referring to Georgian Harper Ehrenberg and her brother Jim Harper who have been involved in Art on Main and in pursuing the renovation of the theater at 100 Main St.
Buike is also working on creating a Fort Mill Arts Guild as a nonprofit organization.
"I hope through the commission to bring more art venues to the downtown area," Buike said. "I'd like to see national artists come in and hold workshops, too."
The Veterans' Memorial Committee was one of the first formed. Made up of representatives of both the American Legion and the VFW and town council members, the committee has already met three times, according to VFW member Sam Griffin.
The Veterans' Memorial Park will occupy part of the property Fort Mill is leasing between North White Street and the railroad tracks.
"It's an ideal location," Griffin said. "I think it's a great process. It's not going as fast as I thought it would, but it will take a long time to do it right."
The committee has already seen two sets of architect sketches for the memorial and the architect is incorporating the committee's comments and suggestions into a set of revised drawings, Griffin said. The committee is estimating a budget of about $500,000 for the park, and will likely create some fundraisers to help pay for it, Griffin said.
"I think it's a great project," Griffin said. "It's long overdue."