Group forms to adopt median landscaping through Pawleys
The orphaned median through the Pawleys Island business district has a new family. A group is organizing to raise funds to maintain the landscape along the 1.9 miles of Highway 17.
“There’s a whole lot of energy behind getting the orphan taken care of,” said Beth Goodale, the director of Georgetown County Parks and Recreation, who is working with the group.
The landscape was planted when the state Department of Transportation installed the median in place of a two-way left-turn lane in 2015. DOT funded maintenance for the first year, but the county was responsible after that. Work by contractors was spotty until last year, when two overnight cleanups were done by Waccamaw Landscaping and paid for from county economic development funds.
The raised median falls between two landscaped areas that are maintained by nonprofit groups with help from the county, leading to its informal designation as the orphaned median.
“We named it Mainstreet Pawleys, because that’s what it is,” said Vida Miller, a former business owner and state representative who helped form the new organization.
Mainstreet Pawleys is seeking nonprofit tax status and recruiting members for a board and to help with fundraising.
“The response has really been overwhelming,” Miller told a group that gathered to launch the initiative. “This is a wonderful community service project.”
The group estimates that it will cost $80,000 a year for five to six overnight cleanups. Each will require closing the inside lanes of traffic at a cost of $5,000 for safety measures.
The Litchfield Beautification Foundation that maintains the medians from Baskervill Drive through North Litchfield, helped the organizers of Mainstreet Pawleys. The Litchfield group was regularly asked about the state of the Pawleys median.
“We really kind of got tired about that,” said Bill McElroy, the foundation’s past president. “We’re going to be advisors.”
Mainstreet Pawleys already has in-kind donations from Bill Hopkins to apply for nonprofit status and Waccamaw Management to handle its finances. Its success will hinge on further fundraising.
Litchfield Beautification gets about 80 percent of its revenue from donations, said Ken Dewell, the current president. It also gets annual grants of accommodations tax from the county. The money comes from a state tax on short-term rentals.
“It’s my impression is that the A-tax committee is having less and less appreciation for what we’re doing,” said Judy Jarvis, a member of the nonprofit Pawleys Island Highway Beautification Program, which tends to the south end of the median. “I just foresee that our A-tax stream is going to get worse and worse.”
An advisory committee reviews requests for the tax funds. The final decision rests with County Council.
Goodale said the county would like to come up with a funding formula that would give each group the same amount per foot for maintenance. They could then raise additional funds to do more work.
The county is looking at various revenue sources. “We’re looking under all the rocks right now,” Goodale said.
Mainstreet Pawleys hopes to have its board and officers in place next month. People who want to volunteer in any fashion can contact the group by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Pawleys Island-Litchfield Business Association will collect tax-deductible contributions to the median project until the new group gets its nonprofit designation.