Santa gets new sleigh for 2018 parade

BLYTHEWOOD – The Blythewood Christmas parade planning and funding are underway. Included in the plan is a float for Santa.

Paul Richter, representing the Knights of Columbus, came before Council Tuesday evening to request $8,663 to finance this year’s Christmas parade. That’s about $3,300 more than the group requested last year.

Additional funds are needed to provide a second reviewing stand and a second sound system on Main Street, Richter said. For many years, the reviewing stand was on Main Street but was moved to Blythewood Road three years ago when the Blythewood Chamber of Commerce was organizing the parade.

“The shortest stretch of the parade route is on Blythewood Road,” Richter said. “And the longest route is on Blythewood Road. The majority of our citizens viewing the parade are on Main Street and they don’t have a clue what’s going on at the reviewing stand on Blythewood Road.”

The cost for the second reviewing stand and sound system is about $3,000, Richter told Council.

The $8,663 also includes an additional $500 for a nice float for Santa this year.

“I did get comments last year,” Ross said with a laugh. “People didn’t like seeing Santa riding in the back of a pickup truck.”

Councilman Eddie Baughman and Ross commended the Knights for the work they do on the parade.

“You took this over when we had nowhere else to turn,” Ross said. “You all have done an unbelievable job and even refunded a check back for us two years ago when you didn’t spend all the money we gave you,” Ross said.

Because the parade is a town event and is not specifically intended to bring in tourists, Ross said it will be funded from the hospitality taxes now and in the future instead of from accommodations taxes as in the past.

The application stated that about 15,000 spectators are expected to view the parade this year.

Annexation

In other business, Council passed first reading to annex two properties on Syrup Mill Road into the town. William and Sandra Tomes, owners, petitioned for their three-quarter acre properties (R12810-05-01 and R12800-01-07) to be annexed with an interim zoning district classification of Rural.

Both lots were zoned Rural in Richland County and are contiguous to the town to the east. Cook said the couple plans to ask for a permanent zoning classification of Rural.