Changing for Positive Growth

Creating a “culture change” in city government was one of the points Laurens Mayor Nathan Senn noted in a review of his first six months at the helm of Laurens. Speaking to Laurens Rotarians yesterday, he said addressing issues of accountability and effectiveness of city operations is a priority. Mayor Senn called for acting with a sense of urgency. He said he doesn’t want the city government to get in the way of progress. One way to address this, he noted, is to provide anyone seeking to come to Laurens to establish a business a personal contact, one person who would help them through the permitting process, so they don’t keep getting referred from one department to another.

Nathan Senn said he’s seeking to increase communication with employees through employee evaluation and employee surveys, with a goal of fixing problems and rewarding good work. He’s also looking at departmental reorganization. He noted Parks and Recreation operates activities, but the Special Projects Department is responsible for maintenance of the facilities.

The mayor stressed the importance of the current process of adopting the International Existing Building Codes. He indicated having to use the same standards of a new building to rehab and old building results in old buildings not being renovated. Senn said the newly approved international codes will allow old buildings to be upgraded and made safer at a more realistic price. The mayor pointed out that putting old buildings back into service gets fire monitoring added to decrease the potential damage to the building and its neighbors from a fire in the middle of the night.

Mayor Senn also stressed the need to develop middle-income, affordable housing in town. Regarding a trend of millennials moving into city centers, Senn said this will help revitalize businesses operating downtown, too.

Noting the two latest new industries beginning operations in Hunter Industrial Park, the mayor said more growth is coming.

Nathan Senn displayed a video showing the importance of Piedmont Blues in the evolution of music, noting it started here. The video highlighted Piedmont Blues musicians Rev. Gary Davis and Pink Anderson, both from Laurens, saying this music form will be celebrated in May, 2020 as Laurens hosts The Piedmont Blues Festival.