Music from the weekend’s jazz festival hardly had time to settle before Cheraw’s town council was talking about Christmas. The Christmas shopping season for Cheraw merchants traditionally means that current blue laws are slightly lifted on Sundays during the months of November and December. This year will be no exception to tradition.
Cheraw Town Council unanimously passed a resolution Tuesday evening, during a special meeting of council, “to allow an exemption for the South Carolina Blue Laws Pursuant to S.C. Code Section 53-1-10 (B),” said Cheraw Mayor Andy Ingram. The resolution allows businesses that normally open at 1:30 p.m. to open at 10 a.m. Ingram said, “It is the hope of council these actions will encourage people to shop locally this holiday season.”
Council’s concerns for Christmas turned from shopping issues to decorating issues. According to Cheraw Town Administrator Mike Smith, the town spends close to $6,000 each year in lighting and labor related costs to hang decorations. A recommendation, presented to council from the finance committee, suggested it might be cheaper to hire an outside company to install LED lights, that are also more efficient to burn.
A motion from Councilman Fred Harris to put the lighting project up for bids was unanimously approved.
A recommendation from Smith generated conversation among council members concerning the purchase of signs promoting the town’s association with the newly formed Eastern South Carolina Heritage Region. “It basically promotes tourism,” said Smith, “It’s much like being a part of the Cotton Trail.”
It was suggested the town purchase four signs, at $500 each, to be placed at the S.C. African-American Heritage Museum, Dizzy’s Homesite Park on Huger Street, and Old St. David’s Church. The fourth sign would be placed near Town Hall to promote the cell phone tour.
“I think we should back this down a little bit,” said Councilman Randy Butler. He suggested council purchase just two signs, preferably outside of town for visitors to see.
“Do we have to have a sign to be part of the group?” asked Harris.
No one knew the answer to that question. Council ultimately voted to have the matter referred to council’s legislative committee for further discussion on the number and placement of the signs. If any of the signs are purchased, Smith said the money would come from the local hospitality account.
— Staff Writer Karen Kissiah can be reached at 843-537-5261, or by email at email@example.com.