AP NEWS

McGee sworn in as newest member of Hartsville City Council

March 14, 2019

HARTSVILLE, S.C. — Bobby McGee took the oath of office Tuesdy to become the newest member of the Hartsville City Council.

McGee, a financial planner and adviser with McGee Financial Group in Hartsville and Florence, won a Feb. 19 special election to fill a vacancy in the District 6 council seat created when former Councilman Billy Shirley resigned in November to relocate to the Upstate to be closer to family. Shirley served on the council for 16 years.

McGee defeated Casey Copeland in the special election by a vote of 159 to 34. Copeland is the director of Florence-Darlington Technical College’s Hartsville site.

The new council member will serve the remainder of Shirley’s term, which expires in November. He will be eligible to run for a full four-year term in the November general municipal election.

“I am grateful. I look forward to serving the people of this great city,” McGee said after taking his seat on the council. He said he will work to see that Hartsville continues to experience the kind of success it has in the past.

In other business, members heard a proposal from Bishop Tracy Mouzon, pastor of Tabernacle of Faith Outreach Ministries, to develop the old Lincoln Village apartment complex property in the largely minority South Hartsville area into new apartments to provide affordable housing for area residents and revitalize the community.

The council took no action on the proposal.

Mouzon said his ministry, in which his wife, Karen, also serves as a pastor, has a vision for Hartsville that revolves around the abandoned apartment complex. He said the couple’s ministry is geared toward community outreach. “We want to put safe, affordable housing on this property,” Mouzon said.

He said a construction project could be phased in and would provide jobs in the community. It could also be used to teach vocational skills to young people, he said. And it could help lower crime in the community and encourage more people to live in the area.

“We want to show that someone cares about the community,” Mouzon said. “We want to make Hartsville great again.”

Mouzon asked for the city’s support for such an effort.

The city owns the property. “It’s a huge piece of property,” Mayor Mel Pennington said. Pennington said the city would like to see the property redeveloped. But he suggested the possibility of a more scaled-back project on a pilot basis to see how it could work.

Pennington pointed out that over the past several years several developers have sought to redevelop the property through the use of federal grants and loans, but none of those plans ever came together.

Mouzon said he would be open to considering a smaller project. City Manager Natalie Zeigler said city staff can meet with Mouzon to discuss his proposal further.

Councilwoman Teresa Mack, who represents the district in which the property is located, said she would like to see the Hartsville Public Development Corp. take an interest in redeveloping that area of Hartsville. She said she discussed that prospect recently with Charleston developer Vincent Graham, who is a member of the corporation’s board.

“I wish that the development corporation would look at the South Hartsville area and see what we can do there,” Mack said.

The corporation is currently involved in the Canal District Business Park redevelopment effort which city officials say could bring $10 million in new capital investment to Hartsville. The corporation is a nonprofit organization created by the city to assist in the development of public facilities and other projects that benefit the city.