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HAPPY NEW YEAR! 2019 brought state title, new events

The year 2019 brought promises of growth at the recreation authority, new community festivals, a huge animal shelter donation, election and voting changes and an AAA State Championship Pirates baseball team! Pike County Parks and Recreation announced their 10-year Master Plan and moved into Phase I of the plan which will include the design and construction of an indoor community center at the soccer complex at an existing pavilion. The authority had plans to enclose the pavilion since 2010 and when finished the building will include three large activity rooms, a meeting room, a kitchen and office space. It will be used for sports registration, additional recreational programs and can be rented for special events. Two new festivals were added to the county’s annual hometown events by the cities of Williamson and Meansville. The first ever Williamson Wisteria Festival was held in May and brought hundreds of visitors to the city with 50 vendors lining the city’s walking track. A Talent Showcase was held on the Friday night before the festival and 18 acts took the stage, vying for the $100 grand prize. The first ever Meansville Music Festival debuted to huge crowds in September, despite a heavy downpour during the event. In addition to free inflatables and kids activities, a car show, raffles and a corn hole tournament, local leaders were honored for their contributions to the community. Veterans were honored in Pike throughout the year and American Legion Post 197 organized a Memorial Day parade to honor those who served and those who gave their lives for their country. The city of Molena became a Purple Heart city and honored Purple Heart recipients in the area on the Purple Heart Day on April 27. The day’s events included a 5K and 10K event hosted by American Legion Post 197. Commissioners accepted a $225,000 donation to be used to build an animal shelter in the county and are working on plans to have the facility constructed in the coming year. The donation was offered by longtime citizen Walker Chandler through the CLC Foundation which was established by his father Dr. C.L. Chandler Jr. Halfway through the year, the former county manager resigned and at the end of the year, a new county manager – Ron E. Alexander – was hired. For the first time, all elections in Pike – including city elections – were placed under the oversight of the Board of Elections and Registrations. Several seats were filled and Concord approved the sale of liquor by the drink in the city under the new board. The Registrar’s Office is now known as the Office of Elections and Registration and the citizens from the city of Zebulon will no longer cast their ballots at city hall as their voting location changed to the courthouse lobby. The Pirates dominated as they had a 34-4 overall record, including the playoffs, on their way to claim the AAA State Championship title. They won the championship by sweeping their opponents in back-to-back extra inning games at Luther Williams Field in Macon. The Pirates were celebrated by the community at several parades and events throughout the year. In other baseball news, two former Pirates players were drafted in the 2019 Major League Baseball draft and another former Pirate was on the 2019 World Series winning team. Coleman Crow, a 2019 PCHS graduate was drafted by the Los Angeles Angels in Round 28 of the draft and Tristin English was drafted by the Arizona Diamondbacks in the third round as the 93rd pick overall. Former Pirates pitcher Hunter Strickland helped the Washington Nationals in the division series and they went on to win the World Series Championship. The city of Williamson renovated and added special features to the city’s historic caboose and opened it to the public for tours on Saturdays. The tours are limited during the winter months to only the Saturday after the city’s council meeting.

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