By Michaele Duke
A historic building that not so long ago was slated for demolition has been given new life. The former Belk building on Hampton Avenue was the center of attention as local government and citizens gathered for a Topping Out celebration that will house the Department of Social Services.
The May 29, event took place at the construction site. Among those present were Vernita Dore, State Director of the United States Department of Agriculture, John Taylor, DSS Human Services Program Coordinator and Kenneth Barnes with Congressman Clyburn’s Office. Williamsburg County Supervisor Stanley Pasley signed the final beam that will complete the roof structure. “As I signed the last beam to go into the roof structure of the building I thought what a momentous occasion this was, and how all the hard work by staff, elected officials and others was finally paying off,” said Pasley in a press release. “Once the building is completed it should be a very comfortable facility for the DSS staff and citizens served.”
The building is considered one of the most historically and architecturally significant buildings in the downtown business district but was slated for demo in 2009. Its fight to maintain the distinction has been a long and arduous one to say the least. Seeing the endeavor to fruition was the result of partnerships forged with Williamsburg County, the Williamsburg County Development Corporation, USDA-Rural Development, Congressman Clyburn’s Office, DSS, Santee Electric Cooperative and the Town of Kingstree, among others. “Once the project is complete, I believe the location of the office downtown will help to reinvigorate the downtown area,” said Pasley. “As Kingstree Mayor Ricky Burrows stated in his remarks, it is already responsible for bringing the new nail spa business located on Main Street to the Town of Kingstree. The project is exciting and will benefit not only the Town of Kingstree, but Williamsburg County and its citizens well into the future.” Construction is expected to be completed by September.