HARTSVILLE, S.C. -- Hartsville residents have enjoyed several new businesses in town in the 2018, and they have a new entertainment option as well as another project on the planning boards.

The newly renovated water park is providing much more large-scale family activities, and early attendance figures were encouraging.

The Canal Project will enhance new business opportunities as well as provide entertainment.

Water park

Hartsville opened its new water park in June.

The park is an expansion of Piratesville, the over-5,100-square-foot splash pad that opened in July 2013, and it has drawn an average of 20,000 people each season since, according to figures from the city.

With Hartsville City Council members, staff and special guests Seymour and Sandy, Neptune Island’s loggerhead sea turtle mascots, cut a ribbon to open the nearly $10 million park adjacent to Byerly Park.

Hartsville Mayor Mel Pennington said the park offers another opportunity to improve the quality of life for Hartsville residents and to make Hartsville a tourism destination.

The park, which will operate seasonally from Memorial Day until at least Labor Day, will employ about 130 people, most of the under the age of 21, Pennington said.

In a July meeting of the Hartsville City Council, City Manager Natalie Zeigler told council members that Hartsville’s new Neptune Island Waterpark welcomed its 20,000th guest on its 21st day of operation since opening in June.

“It’s exceeded our expectations,” Zeigler said.

Canal District

The Darlington County Council gave final approval to an ordinance to establish a new multi-county business park to help fund development of the proposed Canalside or Canal District redevelopment project along the South Fourth Street corridor and neighboring areas in Hartsville.

The new Canal District Business Park will be jointly owned and operated by Darlington and Lee counties in the city of Hartsville at the city’s request under a joint multi-county business park agreement between the two counties.

The Hartsville City Council gave final approval to a city ordinance related to the park in October.

New businesses

While not at the same pace as 2017’s new business ribbon cuttings, 2018 had a fair share of activity.

According to Main Street Hartsville, ribbon cuttings did not exceed double-digit numbers last year.

“To the best of my knowledge, the six ribbon cuttings for 2018 were: Project ExCape, The Edition, Hakuna Matuna, Hoof and Hound, Wooden Pineapple Boutique and EdVenture Children’s Museum, which won the 2018 Excellence on Main Street Award for Outstanding Partnership from Main Street South Carolina,” said Main Street Hartsville director Suzy Moyd.

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