We talk a lot about beautification in the town, and I would like to thank our Chapin Explorers who helped collect trash along Columbia Avenue with the folks from FISERV the other Saturday to make sure the gateway coming into Chapin was litter free. Carson Adams, Chip Dye, Devin Sirius, Inaia Wilson, Jake Strange, JJ Sauls, Kory Arnole and Matthew Protheroe helped pick up almost 360 pounds of litter - way to go! If you ever have the opportunity to see an Explorer in and around town please take the time to say thank you to these young women and men who volunteer their time to benefit our community. I’m sure they would appreciate your support. They are our future.
Last week, we met with Lexington County officials to discuss EMS response times. Our new Lexington County Councilwoman Erin Bergeson, EMS Chief Brian Hood, County Administrator Joe Mergo and Public Safety Director David Kerr met with Chief Zeigler, Karen Owens and me to discuss a recent incident in Chapin and what measures could be taken to educate the general public about emergency response in the county. Last year, there were close to 44,000 calls into Lexington County’s 911 service for assistance. The dispatcher has a series of questions he or she goes through to determine the severity of the situation and whether a Basic Life Support (BLS) or an Advanced Life Support (ALS) ambulance should be dispatched to the scene. On calls where someone has suffered a heart attack, stroke or other life threatening injury or event, an ALS ambulance unit would be dispatched because they are equipped with more advanced equipment, medicine and paramedics to handle these more severe cases. When the situation is not as severe, the closest BLS unit is sent.
There are a number of challenging factors that have come into play with our public safety resources, such as double-digit population growth, a shortage of people going into the paramedic field, and a county that is over 750 miles in size with a rather large lake in the middle of it. Another issue the county faces is a growing number of people calling 911 for non-emergency assistance. The county is required to respond to all 911 calls it receives, but when people misuse the system, it cuts into available units needed to respond to more serious calls. We have asked the county to provide us with more information to share with our residents, and they have offered to host a Public Safety Information meeting here at Chapin Town Hall to inform the public about how EMS works and how the new technologies that have been deployed are reducing response times and improving health outcomes. This free community meeting will be held in late March, and I will share more information as we confirm the details.
Thursday night I had the pleasure of participating in the Columbia Opportunity Resource’s Table for Six event, a networking dinner where I joined six of my fellow Midlands mayors and young people who have an interest in serving their communities. The mayors all shared why they are passionate about serving their communities and I was inspired by what my fellow mayors shared. It was also inspiring to hear the participants’ questions and express their desire to make the cities and towns they call home better. Thanks to Abigail Zeiler for inviting me to participate in the dinner and working hard to expose these young professionals to opportunities for community service.
Last week I attended the Chapin Chamber’s monthly board meeting, and they have some great programs and meetings planned for 2017. The town looks forward to continue working with our Chamber leadership to support our business community and their efforts. I also attended the Lexington County Development Corporation’s board meeting where we heard some updates on the Chapin Tech Park. The beautiful fountain is being installed at the end of Brighton Boulevard. Also, the landscaping contract has been awarded, and we should see some activity very soon. Mike Eades said the decorative lighting to be installed throughout the park had been finalized as well. He reported he’s fielded several inquiries from prospects so hopefully we will hear some good news in the not too distant future!
We have our February council meeting on Tuesday the twenty-first with a rather robust agenda. I look forward to getting our regular updates as well as proposals by Cub Scout Pack 380 to clean up a small parcel the town owns on Beaufort Street and create a geocache there. Karen Owens will be giving us an update of on the performance of our town website which was revamped a year ago. A few months ago I asked Mayor Pro Tem Mike Clonts to investigate and identify alternative funding sources to support projects (town park, additional sidewalks, etc.) originally proposed with the implementation of a hospitality tax, which he will provide at this council meeting. We welcome the citizens of the entire Chapin community to join us and be part of the running of our town.