LAURENS - Over the past year, Laurens has been working hard to improve the community's infrastructure while at the same time providing entertainment for the town's residents.
Among the biggest projects undertaken by Laurens is a street improvement project, which began last year.
City Manager Barb Smith described 2012 as a "progressive" year.
-Messenger photo by Peter Kaspari
Chad Cleveland, general manager of Laurens Municipal Power and Communication, looks over a new electrical generator being installed in the city. Cleveland said the project, which began last year, is expected to be completed in May. In the event of a power outage, Cleveland said the engines will be able to supply the town’s entire electrical supply.
"We've started a big water sewer and road construction project on the south side of town," she said. "And we've also purchased a new garbage truck."
Smith said the majority of the project consists of replacing a water main.
"We've replaced the sewer down Veterans Road and are totally reconstructing the street at the end of it," she said. "It's been a challenging project because the people on the south side of town have had their water shut off from time to time."
The east side of the street has been completed, and construction on the other side is expected to begin this coming spring.
"We're also working with an engineer on a capital project for a new swimming pool," she said. "This year we're also going to finish parts of Veterans Road that were not in the original project."
Another project the city has been working on is the installation of three diesel engines used to generate Laurens' electricity.
Chad Cleveland, general manager of Laurens Municipal Power and Communications, said the new engines will improve the community.
"When they're done, those engines will carry this town's electrical load if we lose our power supply," he said. "That's something we haven't been able to say for 40 years."
He said the timing of the new engines happened to work out in the town's favor in several ways.
"Through our power contract, half of the project has already been paid for," he said. "Also, working with our planner and engineers, we discovered that the power and electricity rates would stay the same whether we did or did not do the project."
"If the rates would stay the same, why not take advantage of those benefits?" he added.
Cleveland said the project is right on schedule and is expected to be completed by May 1.
One town project that was recently completed is Memory Lane Park, which had been under construction for the past two years.
Laurens also celebrated the opening of the Silver Dollar Saloon, a new bar on Main Street.
Co-owner Nathan Brazel said the bar doesn't only provide alcohol.
"We've worked to bring entertainment back to town," Brazel said. "Every Friday night, we have bands playing here."
Brazel said the town appears to have been very receptive to the business.
"They love the atmosphere and the fast, friendly service," he said.
Because the Silver Dollar Saloon is still young, Brazel and co-owner Tom Madsen are looking for ways to attract more people.
"We're planning on starting up taco night very soon," Brazel said. "We'll be serving tacos every Tuesday night."
Brazel said the bar has also provided painting activities as well as offering local wines.
"We see a very diverse class of people coming in here," he added.
Brazes said they wanted to start the bar because of their love of the town.
"It's our hometown, and we wanted to create a place for people to enjoy," he said. "We've got a lot of plans for the future, including fixing up our kitchen."