Orangeburg Mayor Michael Butler’s State of City Address

The Dick Horne Foundation is funding the creation and installation of a statue at the North Road recreational complex in honor of the City of Orangeburg’s late parks and recreation director.

The Orangeburg nonprofit is looking to place a roughly four-foot bronze statue at the entrance of the recreational complex in honor of Marion “Buster” Smith Jr., who served as the city’s director of parks and recreation for 28 years.

Smith died in August 2022 at the age of 75. He also served on the board of the Horne Foundation for 30 years.

The statue would show a young boy preparing to pitch a baseball and would be inscribed with a tribute to Smith.

“I personally think it would be a nice tribute for Mr. Smith and also something worth having and looking at for visitors, especially in light of the Little League World Series that we are hosting next year,” Orangeburg City Administrator Sidney Evering said.

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Smith had envisioned the recreation park over a decade before it came to reality. He was there to see the grand opening in December 2019.

Evering said it will take about seven months to complete the statue.

In other matters during Tuesday’s Orangeburg City Council meeting:

• Council gave first reading approval to the annexation of property located at 3397 Broughton Street into the city.

Councilman Dr. Kalu Kalu abstained and Councilman Richard Stroman opposed the annexation.

No comments or concerns were raised at Tuesday’s meeting.

About three acres of the 14-acre property can be developed as the other portion is wetlands, according to city officials.

The property is owned by the city and was formerly a Department of Public Utilities substation. A gas main is also located on the property.

A developer has expressed interest in building a restaurant at the location.

The City’s Planning Commission had previously tabled the matter before eventually denying the annexation.

A public hearing will be held on the annexation of the property prior to second reading.

• Council gave unanimous first reading approval to the transfer of property at Pinebrook Street to the Chestnut Ridge Homeowners Association, Inc.

The .55-acre property, which is owned by the city, has become the entranceway to the 40- to 50-home Chestnut Ridge subdivision that’s being developed.

The property is near the intersection of Columbia Road and Chestnut Street.

The city took possession of the property through the Forfeited Land Commission years ago. The transfer of the property will not entail any significant monetary exchange, according to city officials.

• City council unanimously gave third and final approval to the annexation of University Village into the city limits.

University Village at South Carolina State University properties are located at 100 University Village Drive and 400 University Village Drive.

The university does not own the properties.

• Council unanimously gave second reading approval to the annexation of Crepe Myrtle Village, located at 180 Magnolia Street, into the city limits.

City officials say most of Crepe Myrtle Village is in the city limits, except for a small portion.

• Council recognized Orangeburg Department of Public Safety officers Lt. Angelena Rickenbaker, Cpl. Bryan Haynes and Cpl. Seth Wolfe for their roles in rescuing a 34-year-old man from a burning car. The three received a standing ovation from those in attendance and were described as heroes.

Wolfe came upon the burning gray Dodge Charger at the North Road Exxon gas station shortly before midnight on Feb. 4 as he headed home after his shift.

Rickenbaker and Haynes arrived at the scene. They were able to carry the man away from the burning vehicle.

The man was eventually airlifted to the Augusta, Georgia burn clinic.

Orangeburg Mayor Michael Butler said the city appreciates their service.

“When you put those uniforms on, you don’t ever know if you will make it back home,” he said.

• Council recognized city employee David Stevenson for his approximately 48 years of service to the city. Stevenson retired Feb. 7. Stevenson worked in the city’s vehicle maintenance department.

• Butler recognized integrity as the March Community of Character trait and encouraged city residents to enact this trait in their daily lives.

• Shanika Aiken, founder of the S.A.F.E. Organization, requested council’s partnership in expanding youth outreach. Aiken also requested council’s support in helping the organization find a permanent place to house its programs. It currently uses the Orangeburg County Library.

The organization provides mentors and educational services to at-risk youth in Orangeburg and surrounding counties.

The organization was founded in March 2014 and since then has served over 650 girls by promoting self-esteem, advocacy, faith and education.

The organization has a free mental health awareness forum scheduled for April 22. It will be held at 10 a.m. at 990 Willington Drive in Orangeburg.

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