Celebrating a Proud Past... a Promising Future

To create a promising future in a place which inspires people to achieve their best through nurturing partnerships and loyalties while enhancing the experience of a small historic southern town.

The BDDA is dedicated to the development, growth, and preservation of Bennettsvilles' historic downtown area.

Downtown Update

Bennettsville news and events.

Marion Wright Public Library Summer Program resolution passes!

Recently the Board of Directors of BDDA unanimously passed a resolution in support of our Marion Wright Public Library's summer programs for children and adults. Executive Director, ED of BDDA, suggests you visit the library's website and Facebook page to keep up with many of their activities. For more information call the library at 843-479-5630. Pictured left to right are Kim McLaurin of MWE Library, Executive Director, ED of BDDA and Bobbi Grooms, Director of the MWE Library.

Community Leaders Train Ride

Members of the Board of Directors of the Marlboro County Economic Development Partnership and other community leaders were treated to a train ride on the Pee Dee River Railroad System, owned by Marlboro County, and operated by the Aberdeen and Rockfish Railroad. Gordon Horton is manager of the county system. The railroad was purchased by Marlboro County in 1987. The train took the guests from Bennettsville to Mohawk Industries and then over to Domtar where the group was served lunch and given riding tours of the Domtar (Marlboro Mills) facility. Shown in the above picture, left to right, Dr. Mark Bunch, Dean of Continuing Education and Work Force Development for NETC, Executive Director, ED of BDDA, and Ron Munnerlyn, Marlboro County Administrator.

Leadership Bennettsville Class

In the above picture, Ron Munnerlyn, Marlboro County Administrator, and Executive Director of the Marlboro County Economic Development Partnership (MCEDP) spoke to the Leadership Bennettsville Class on County Government Day. The administrator took the group on a tour of the County Administration Building and then talked to them about the Partnership. Other presenters during the day were Deloris Barrington, County Treasurer, Judge Mark Heath, Marlboro County Probate Judge, Deborah Weldon, Deputy from the Marlboro County Auditor's Office and Gary Harrington, County Recreation Director. The group also toured the Clerk of Court's office, including the records room and the general sessions court room. All this courtesy of Joy Williams, Marlboro County Clerk of Court.

Annual Event attracts local business people!

At the annual Bennettsville After Hours, sponsored by the Bennettsville City Council, some 50-people enjoyed the opportunity to network with each other and enjoy socializing. This annual get together gives local business people the chance to meet with members of the Bennettsville City Council along with the Mayor. The affair is hosted at the Bennettsville Visitor Center. Door prizes are given away and refreshments are served. Shown in the above picture, are left to right, Dr. Mark Bunch, Larry McNeil, Mayor Heath Harpe, Elisabeth McNiel, Ann Bunch and Holly Swann.

First Responders Recognized

The Board of Directors of the BDDA recently recognized the Bennettsville Police Department as one of the First Responders in our area. The resolution stated, in part, that our Police Department maintains our safety 24/7, 365 days a year. In the above picture, BDDA Director presented Bennettsville Police Chief Kevin Miller with a framed copy of the resolution in front of the fountain in the downtown Bennettsville Court Yard.

Gifts and More celebrates 20 years!

Executive Director, ED of BDDA, presented a resolution, passed by the BDDA Board of Directors, to Cindy Ayers, owner of Gifts and More, as she celebrates 20 years in business in our historic downtown. In making the presentation, BDDA Director said, Gifts and More is a business anchor in our downtown in the 200 block of East Main Street. Shown in the above picture, left to right, is Executive Director, ED of BDDA and Cindy Ayers of Gifts and More.

Jean Quick "4-WAY Good Citizen Award for 2017"

In honor of Jean Quick's recognition by the Rotary Club's prestigious 4-WAY Good Citizen Award for 2017, the BDDA passed a resolution saluting her dedication to Bennettsville and the surrounding area. Executive Director, ED of BDDA, said it is because of citizens like Jean Quick that our town continues to prosper. Picture from left to right, Executive Director, ED of BDDA and Jean Quick. Quick is a member of the Bennettsville City Council and Treasurer of BDDA.

School District of Marlboro County's "Celebration of Success"

At this year's, School District of Marlboro County's "Celebration of Success", the district celebrated the success of its faculty and administration. Many awards were given, highlighting years of service, success of students in the class room, and various other awards. Executive Director, Executive Director of BDDA, was an honored guest at the program. Shown in the above picture are Doctor Rippin McLeod, Deputy Superintendent, Executive Director, ED of BDDA, and Wes Park, Chief Financial Officer of the District. The meeting was held in the Gymnasium of the Marlboro County High School.

Salute Marlboro County Sheriff's Department!!

The Board of Directors of BDDA at their last meeting passed a resolution saluting and thanking the Marlboro County Sheriff's Department for all they do in serving our citizens. In recent days, the Department has shown its place as one of the premiere Law Enforcement Organizations in our State. The resolution further states that we are most fortunate to have this First Responder serving our City and County. Shown in the above picture is Sheriff Charles Lemon, receiving the resolution from Executive Director, ED of BDDA.

31st BDDA Annual Meeting

The 31st BDDA Annual Meeting was held in the Bennettsville Community Center. Some fifty members enjoyed a sit-down dinner and then honored five recipients of the BDDA Annual awards. The Marlboro Civic Center was honored for their 20 years of service to the area and a salute to their historic building, celebrating 100 years, was given for Best Long-Time Business. Marlboro County was given an award for their Market Street Parking Lot, as the best Renovation for 2016. The Best Educational Project for 2016 was given to the Junior Leadership Bennettsville Program and the Best Governmental Agency award was given to the Marlboro County Veterans Affairs Office. This year for the first time, BDDA gave an award to the Marlboro County Veteran of the Year, the recipient was U.S.Army PFC Alexander Sweatt of McColl. If you are interested in supporting Downtown Bennettsville, please consider joining the BDDA. Call BDDA at 843-479-3869. Left to right: Ron Munnerlyn, Vikki Harris, Executive Director, ED, PFC Alexander Sweatt, Fay McLaurin, Brenda Dixon, Joy Graham

JLB Class of 2016-2017 completed March 30th

The Junior Leadership Bennettsville Class (JLB) ended their 2016-2017 class year on March 30th. During the year, they enjoyed the ropes course at Camp Pee Dee, this three-hour course was enjoyed by the entire class as they stretched their mental and physical capacities. The JLB is composed of Juniors from Marlboro Academy and Marlboro County High School. A new class will begin in the fall of this year.

JLB Class addressed by Executive Director, Executive Dir BDDA

The Junior Leadership Bennettsville Class (JLB) was addressed by Executive Director, Executive Director of the BDDA (BDDA) along with co-chairs of JLB, Orlah King and Joy Graham. The class was graduated on March 30th and the next class will begin this fall. The JLB class is juniors from Marlboro County High School and Marlboro Academy and is a 5-6-month course.

JLB Class of 2016-17 kick-off

The Junior Leadership Bennettsville Class (JLB) kicked off their 2016-17 class year in the fall of 2016. The class, consisting of Juniors from the two high schools in our county, graduated from the course on March 30th. Co-chairs of the project, Orlah King and Joy Graham, both agreed that the class was very successful this year. Th above picture shows the class in front of the fountain on the Courthouse Square in Bennettsville.

National Main Street Center

Norma Miess from the National Main Street Center, Washington DC and Beppie LeGrand, Manager of Main Street South Carolina, met with the Board of Directors of the BDDA (BDDA) to hold a planning session. BDDA is visited every two years by National and this was the official visit. Thirteen members of the Board of Directors, as shown in the above picture, attended the three-hour session. The discussion led by Miess dwelt primarily on things the Association is currently doing and plans for the future, in particular Bennettsville's Bicentennial (200 Year) Celebration, scheduled for 2019. A theme for the entire session, from Miess, was "Don't do For, do With," the meaning of which is to involve the community so that they will become more active in projects of the Association. For information on BDDA call 843-479-3869.

Jean's Kids Paint the Turkey!

Members of the BDDA (BDDA) Board of Directors along with "Jeans Kids" painted the BDDA Thanksgiving Turkey on Friday afternoon. The bird is now ready to receive donations to support our food banks in Bennettsville. There is a door on top of the turkey so that donations can be placed inside, these donations are collected every day and delivered to the food banks. The Turkey will remain on the court house square well into December so that all will have an opportunity to bring their donations. For further information call BDDA at 843-479-3869, Jean Quick at 843-479-6561 or Jennie Weatherly at 843 479-8875.

Education Day

The Leadership Bennettsville Class enjoyed Education Day on November 17th with the Marlboro County School District. The class met at the new Wallace School and enjoyed a tour of the facility as well as hearing from the various departments of the school district. The day was full of information from all departments and the class enjoyed Thanksgiving dinner at noon. Shown in the above picture, taken by Bobbi Jo Grooms, is Janice Hinson, Principal of the Wallace school, showing the class one of the computer rooms. For more information on Leadership Bennettsville call 843-479-3869.

BDDA Sponsors Food Bank Turkey.

The BDDA (BDDA) is sponsoring a Food Bank Turkey, which is on the courthouse square in Historic Downtown Bennettsville. A wooden turkey has been placed on the square so that folks in our area can drop food items in the top of the turkey to support the two food banks in Bennettsville. Simply take your donations, open the door on the top of the turkey and drop them in. These items will be picked up every day. Although the turkey has not been fully painted due to the inclement weather it will be painted in five different colors as soon as possible. The turkey will be on the Square until well after Thanksgiving so that you may make your donations. At this time of year, our food banks really need our help so please give generously. Shown in the above picture are "Jeans Kids", local kids who gathered with project Chairman, Jean Quick on the courthouse square last Saturday to put the base coat of paint on the bird.

BDDA Represented at Annual Luncheon.

The BDDA (BDDA) was well represented at the Annual Community Appreciation Luncheon held in the South Carolina Vocational Rehabilitation Offices in Bennettsville. Shown in the above picture are; Executive Director, ED of BDDA, Doris Ann Breeden, Secretary of BDDA Board of Directors, Phil Homan, HR Director INA in Cheraw, Lori Moore, DSS, Jackie Swann of Voc Rehab, and Tilette Scott of Voc Rehab.

Board of Directors, attended the quarterly meeting of Main Street South Carolina.

Executive Director, ED of the BDDA (BDDA) and Doris Ann Breeden, Secretary of the BDDA Board of Directors, attended the quarterly meeting of Main Street South Carolina in Columbia on November 3rd. On the agenda for the meeting were sessions on Do's and Don'ts of Photography, Palmetto Pride on grant opportunities, MSSC manager's roundtable reporting on activities in each of the member towns. Shown in the above picture from, left to right are Charlene Herring, Mayor, Town of Ridgeway, Beppie LeGrand, Manager, Main street South Carolina, Executive Director, ED of BDDA, Sonya Crandall, ED of Envision Williamston, Doris Ann Breeden, Secretary of BDDA and Wilson Perkins, ED of Pickens Revitalization Association. For information on BDDA call 843-479-3869.

Woody Graham, welcomed as new board member.

Executive Director, Executive Director of the BDDA (BDDA) welcomed new board member Woody Graham at a board member orientation. Graham joins the board as its newest member. BDDA Director said he's extremely happy that a person of Grahams caliber joins with the 14 other board member to help develop, grow, and preserve historic Downtown Bennettsville. For further information on BDDA call 843-479-3869.

Roy Allison, Director Marlboro County 911/Emergency Services Retires

Executive Director, Executive Director of the BDDA (BDDA) is shown above with Roy Allison. BDDA saluted Allison's retirement after 12 years as the Director of Marlboro County 911/Emergency Services. The BDDA Board of Directors passed the resolution commending Allison for his outstanding service to our County at their last meeting. The improvements made to the 911 system during Allison tenure made the system State-of-the-Art and one of the finest in South Carolina.

Leadership Bennettsville Class of 2016-17 Tours INA

Members of the Leadership Bennettsville Class of 2016-17 toured the INA plant in Cheraw on October 6th. HR Director Phil Homan talked with the class about the history of INA and the products manufactured in the plant. The Leadership Bennettsville Class tries to visit two industries each class year. INA was chosen because they are the largest employer of Marlboro County Folks, over 700. Executive Director, Director of Leadership Bennettsville, said the tour was very successful and the class learned about INA which is the largest industry in the three county area. Shown in the above picture left to right, first row are: Pat Freeman, Adrian Turner, Kel Hall and Lon Lester, Chairman of BDDA, Back row, left to right are Bobbi Grooms, QuShika Lucas, Brian Singletary, Brandi Ritter and Phil Homan, HR Director for INA..

Winner M.A.S.H. Drawing!!!

Shown here from left to right are Charles Barden of Bennettsville and Executive Director. Charles was the lucky winner of $106 from the drawing held at Marlboro M.A.S.H. The drawing was used to raise money to purchase American Flags which fly in Downtown Bennettsville on special occasions. BDDA had a booth at the Marlboro M.A.S.H to sell tickets for the drawing and distribute information on BDDA and historic Downtown Bennettsville. For further information about BDDA call 843-479-3869.

Embrace Hospice of Bennettsville

Lon Lester, Chairman of the BDDA, shown on the right in the above picture and Kevin McHugh, President of Embrace Hospice of Bennettsville talked at the recent open house at the new embrace offices on Liberty St. in Historic Downtown Bennettsville. If you are interested in having an open house or grand opening for your business contact Executive Director at 843-479-3869.



Townsend Family Reunion

The Townsend Family Reunion visited the Bennettsville Visitor Center and toured historic downtown Bennettsville on Friday morning of last week. The event was arranged by Barbara Pouncy. Some twenty members of the Townsend Family were greeted at the Visitor Center by Rhonda Frasier, manager of Recreation for the City of Bennettsville. Frasier along with Executive Director, director of BDDA and his assistant Amanda Seitz gave the visitors a thumb nail sketch of Bennettsville history and a tour of the Visitor Center. Following this the group toured Downtown to include the County Courthouse, City Municipal Building, County Administration building, Economic Development Building, Marlboro Civic Center, Marlboro County Historical Museum, The Gulf, Murchison School Building, Marian Wright Edelman Public Library and various other buildings in our Downtown. The above picture was taken in the conference room at the visitor center. If your group is interested in a downtown tour contact BDDA at 843-479-3869. 

Bennettsville Bicentennial Celebration

A meeting of the steering committee of the Bennettsville Bicentennial Celebration, December 18, 2019 was held last week in the BDDA offices in the Bennettsville Visitor Center. Plans are underway for a full year of celebrations beginning in January 2019. Topics of discussion at the meeting included members to be added to the steering committee along with ideas for monthly celebrations during the anniversary year. In the above picture are, left to right, Doris Ann Breeden, Secretary of BDDA, Executive Director, ED of BDDA and Elisabeth McNiel, Co-chair of the Bicentennial Committee. Anyone interested in helping with the Bicentennial Celebration please call Elisabeth McNiel at 843-479-3815.

New BDDA Board Members

Shown in the picture, left to right, Herbert Gould, Christy Overstreet and Lon Lester. Both Gould and Overstreet are new members on the BDDA Board of Directors. Lon Lester is Chairman of the Board. The meeting was held to orient the new board members on the workings of the BDDA and was conducted by Executive Director, Executive Director of the Board. If you are interested in our Downtown Association please call 843-479-3869. BDDA is dedicated to the growth, development and preservation of historic downtown Bennettsville

KickBack Grand Opening

The Kickback social club, 207 E. Main Street celebrated there grand opening and ribbon cutting on May 19th. Kickback features a variety of daily events including a jazz night, comedy night, gospel night, kids movie night, open mic and poetry night and karaoke night. For details on these events call 843-642-8840. Owner Christine White invites you to call her for further information. Shown in the ribbon cutting picture above from left to right are Evelyn Ellerbee, Marilyn Vaughn, Rosa Vaughn, Chyanne Lywood, Owner Christine White, Wilehemenia Pegues, Charay Vaughn, Executive Director, Executive Director BDDA, Chriseya White, Willie Gladden, Jamerio Harrison and Cheryl Douglas. The grand opening was supported by the Downtown Development Association.

Leadership Bennettsville

The first meeting of the 2016-17 Leadership Bennettsville Class was held on May 19th in the Kinney room at the public library. The ten class members spent this first day getting to know each other as well as BDDA who along with the City of Bennettsville sponsors the project. BDDA chairman Lon Lester addressed the group to talk about the Associations mission in Downtown Bennettsville. Leadership Bennettsville meets on the third Thursdays of each month. Shown in the above group picture are class members from left to right, Sharon Breeden, Bryan Singletary, Adrian Turner, Executive Director, director of Leadership Bennettsville, Pat Freeman, Bobbie Grooms and William Hall. Class members not shown in the picture are Brandi Ritter, Melissa Brock and Qushika Lucas. For more information on Leadership Bennettsville call Executive Director at 843-479-3869.

Main Street South Carolina Quarterly Managers Meeting

Main Street South Carolina held its quarterly managers meeting on April 28th in Manning, South Carolina. Attending from the BDDA were Board Secretary Doris Ann Breeden and Executive Director Executive Director. Twenty-Five participants, from all over the state, were trained in presentation skills and public speaking by Jenny Maxwell of the Buckley School of Public Speaking in Columbia. In the three hour session Maxwell dealt with voice projection, eye contact, body language and facial expressions. She also gave a tutorial on content for one’s speech. The BDDA has been a member of Main Street South Carolina since 1986 and celebrated their 30th Anniversary on April 25th, 2016. Shown in the above picture are Doris Ann Breeden, Beppie LeGrand, Manager of Main Street South Carolina, Executive Director, and Jenny Maxwell. For information on the Downtown Association please call 843-479-3869.

Leadership Bennettsville - Graduation

The 2015-2016 Bennettsville Leadership Class graduated in the Kinney room at the Marian Wright Edelman Library on Thursday April 21st, 2016. Guest speaker for the event was a former Leadership Bennettsville graduate, Woody Graham, Environmental Engineer at Domtar Paper Company. He challenged the group to use the training received during the year to become more involved in the activities of Bennettsville and Marlboro County. Pictured above are members of the graduating class, left to right: Chris Burks, Terri Cook, Matt Haynie, Kim Willis, David Shephard, Joy Graham, Executive Director, director, Davida Holiday, Joette Barnhill, Mel West and Joey Jones. The new Leadership Bennettsville Class will begin on May 19th, 2016. If interested call 843-479-3869.

Leadership Bennettsville - The 13th Year

The new Leadership Bennettsville class begins the 201 6– 2017 year on May 19th. This is the 13th year for this outstanding project.

The 2015-2016 Leadership Bennettsville class will be graduating on April 21st at the Marion Wright Elderman Library in the Kinney Room. The guest speaker will be Woody Graham of Domtar, a previous Leadership Bennettsville graduate. The 2015-2016 Leadership Bennettsville graduates will be: Joey Jones, Tracie Stubbs, Matt Haynie, Joy Graham, Cameron Shepard, Luke Sides, Terri Cook, Kim Willis, Jessica Sides, Davida Holiday, Chris Burks, Mel West, Joette Barnhill, and Tanasia Thomas.

The opening class on May 19th will be spent getting to know each other and learning about Leadership Bennettsville. The June 16th class will be on City Government and the class will hear from various departments within the city. Future classes will deal with County Government, Education, Bennettsville history and a walking tour of historic Bennettsville, Arts and Culture, and various organizations along with leadership skills.

Leadership Bennettsville is sponsored by the City of Bennettsville and the BDDA (BDDA). Each participant pays $135 for the entire year of activities. If you would like to volunteer to help with the classes at any time, call Executive Director at 843-479-3869.


Downtown Update Archive