What will a penny buy these days? Quite a lot, as it turns out.
In November 2008, Sumter County residents passed a 1-cent sales tax by a slim 778-vote margin. By the time the Capital Projects Sales Tax took effect in May 2009, some 16 projects were approved and moving forward.
Included on the list are grassroots initiatives that range from improving rural fire departments to building neighborhood sidewalks. The new Patriot Park Athletic Complex added new ball fields and a nature trail for locals, as well as facilities for state and regional tournaments. Also under way is the Sumter County Judicial Center, a 100,000-square-foot building designed to house all of the county’s legal services under one roof.
Each of the 16 projects improves Sumter County in some way, says Will Holmes, chairman of the Greater Sumter Chamber of Commerce executive committee, but most impressive was how residents banded together to build a better tomorrow. “Our communities came together and decided that we wanted to make ourselves better,” he says. “We didn’t wait for someone else to do it for us. We took it upon our own shoulders and said, ‘We can do this!’”