The Charlton County Board of Commissioners held its regular monthly meeting Thursday, September 3.

During the meeting, commissioners heard from Chamber Director Dana O’Quinn, who introduced herself. She shared she plans to attend meetings and will present the board with monthly updates in regards to happenings and funding. Commissioner Jesse Crews asked for the hours of operation, which she replied are Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Following a public hearing, the board voted to approve the abandonment of an unopened street in St. George, which Ernest Williams and Sarah Sheffield will purchase and split. The motion was made and passed.

The board also approved the abandonment of an unopened alleyway in St. George, which Tommy and Marsha Roddenberry will purchase.

During the meeting, Commissioner Luke Gowen addressed the board as a concerned citizen. He shared while the Recreation Board has been discussing the idea of moving soccer games to Chatman-Mobley Park, he and a group of other parents have concerns for safety due to the history of the park and suggested leaving soccer at Deuce-Lloyd for the time being.

Commissioner Jesse Crews shared, that while he understands the concerns, he has spent a lot of time in the area and has never experienced any issues for his safety. He also explained the games would be played during daylight hours and if the community wishes to see an area improved, it cannot keep getting pushed back. Crews suggested the department hold a match at Chatman-Mobley to see how it goes. Gowen shared he agreed he’d like to see the park cleaned up, but that it should be done first before sending children out to play. 

Commissioner Drew Jones agreed the park should have updates made to enhance children’s safety before the move is made. County Administrator Hampton Raulerson stated there would be deputies at each match and the recreation department would be at the field early to make sure the park is cleaned and ready.

Commissioner Alphya Benefield stated unless something good is introduced to the area, nothing good will happen. She expressed favor in playing soccer at Chatman-Mobley and the need for support of the community and her need of support from her fellow board members. She shared the commission wants to make more renovations and build the county up for everyone to come together in a better way as not to hurt the community in any capacity. 

Following the discussion, the board heard from Antwon Nixon who gave Raulerson copies of the petition needed in order to install speed bumps near Chatman-Mobley Park. He also spoke on the topic of moving the soccer games, saying he understands the concern for safety, but expressed the whole community has to work together to make it better. Gowen explained he does wish to see the park thrive, but feels it just isn’t ready for the move. Nixon shared his concern that the neighborhood could develop the stigma of not being able to change. Gowen expressed he did not want to paint a narrative that the park cannot change and said the county needs more people like Nixon to hold everyone accountable.

The board will meet Thursday, September 17 at 6:00 p.m. in the BOC conference room.