Darlington City Council discusses ways to attract young professionals

Council Members take part in a discussion during Friday's retreat.

DARLINGTON, SC (WBTW) – Inside the Greater Darlington Chamber of Commerce Friday, City Council members gathered to work to become better leaders and talk about how to improve their city.

“Our last two censuses, we’ve lost 20 percent of our population, and a lot of that’s our youth,” said Darlington City Councilman-at-large Bryant Gardner.

Councilmembers fill out team building exercises at one point during Friday’s city council retreat.

Much of the discussion Friday night centered on how to spend money to attract new people to the city of Darlington and keep young professionals coming back.

Darlington City Councilman-at-large Bryant Gardner says he wants to use recreation funds to attract younger people to Darlington.

“what we’re doing is a bond,” explained Gardner. “We’ll have our second reading this coming Tuesday; it’s a $1.9 million bond that will go toward the baseball field complex.”

Gardner said he has an even bigger idea that he hopes will put Darlington on the map for young adults looking to blow off some steam:

“A dream we have called Central Park South,” said Councilman Gardner. “It’s a walking trail that goes through the whole city.”

Gardner said most of the funds for the new walking trail–that he hopes will stretch from Darlington Raceway all the way through the city–will come from the recreation bond up for final approval on Tuesday. He added that Central Park South won’t just be a walking trail.

Councilman Gardner and Mayor Gloria Hines discuss issues close to their hearts during Friday’s retreat.

“It’ll have things like Frisbee golf, a dog par, a splash pad, playground, and just a variety of activities,” Gardner explained.

Before and after the sometimes heated discussions, Council took time out for some classes in teamwork and leadership.

“It was passionate at times but at the same time we were laughing and having a ball, so that’s a beautiful thing,” Gardner said.