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Bethune dedicates new picnic shelter funded by state grant

Posted: January 31, 2015 1:45 p.m.
Updated: February 2, 2015 1:00 a.m.
Gary Phillips/C-I

From left, State Rep. Grady Brown, Bethune Town Councilmen John Fulmer and Don Witham, Kershaw County Councilman Tom Gardner, Bethune Mayor Charles McCoy, State Sen. Vincent Sheheen and Kershaw County Council Chairman Julian Burns gather at Copeland Park in Bethune on Tuesday to dedicate a new picnic shelter, made possible by an $8,500 Parks and Recreational Development grant.

Bethune residents and visitors have a new picnic shelter to use and enjoy at Copeland Park, thanks in large part to an $8,500 Parks and Recreational Development (PARD) grant, a program which provides funds to build or improve parks and related facilities in South Carolina.

State Sen. Vincent Sheheen and State Rep. Grady Brown visited Copeland Park on Tuesday to present the check and help cut a grand opening ribbon for the shelter. Kershaw County Council Chairman Julian Burns and Councilman Tom Gardner, who represents the Bethune area, also attended along with Bethune Mayor Charles McCoy and town councilmen Don Witham and John Fulmer.

“It’s good to be in Bethune. It’s great to have a progressive town council who is really working hard to make things better in Bethune,” Sheheen said. “On behalf of Representative Grady Brown, who advocated strongly for Bethune and is very proud to represent this community in the house and Laurie Funderburk, who sends her best wishes and also represents Kershaw County, although not Bethune itself. We were really excited and pleased to obtain a PARD grant to help with the construction of this facility.”

Sheheen said he and his family have a history with Copeland Park, as his children played baseball there. He said any help the state can pass along to small communities can make a big difference.

“We know that small town South Carolina has it tough. I used to think Camden was really small and then I started representing Patrick and other places. We know it’s tough and we know the people at the top are not looking out for the Bethunes and the Camdens and the Patricks of the world,” Sheheen said. “That’s why Grady and I feel so strongly about doing whatever we can to make sure your tax dollars are returned right here in this community. If we don’t preserve our culture in this state, and our culture is right here in Bethune and in Camden and Kershaw and the great small communities, then we don’t deserve to be leaders in South Carolina.”

Brown said he is pleased to be able to support small communities such as Bethune.

“I told the mayor … if I’m re-elected and you need me, I’ll be there. I was called and I’m here. I couldn’t be more impressed. I appreciate you letting me a part of the process here,” Brown said. “In the future, if I can be of help, give me a call. I’ll be there.”

Gardner also said he’s proud to be included in helping Bethune prosper.

“You see the ball fields we have out here and these are very good facilities and this is going to be a great addition. We appreciate Grady Brown and Vincent’s help with getting this done,” Gardner said. “I want to be of service any way that I can. I’m always available, so feel free to call me any time.”

McCoy said his hope is to continue with other improvements to the Bethune community.

“We want to thank you for making this possible. This is just one project of many that we want to start and complete in our terms in office,” McCoy said. “I welcome everyone out here today. I know you’re braving the cold weather and I do appreciate it.”

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