MAYESVILLE, S.C. — The Town of Mayesville has elected Cynthia Massingill to serve on town council. Massingill previously served on the council, but stepped down in December. She ran again in yesterday’s special election, and won.
"Oh, I got to do something about this!" Mayesville Mayor Jereleen Miller remembers thinking when she didn’t notice much change after visiting her hometown of Mayesville in the 90s.
Miller had moved away to Orangeburg, but came back to bring progress to the area.
"The town of Mayesville is a diamond in the rough," Miller shares. "So we want to share all of that, to any and everyone that wants to come to the town of Mayesville."
"She’s served as mayor since 2007, working with three councilmembers to try and revitalize the area. In 2021, Miller opened a museum and a medical center. Next up is an amphitheater and multi-purpose facility, which Miller tells me she already had grant funding secured for.
"I want to keep the relic look of the town and we have found some new historic stores that have been hidden and we want to bring them to the forefront so we can expand more of the history," Miller explains.
The buildings were hidden in trees, but were discovered recently after clearing the brush. Miller says these new additions will be tourist attractions.
"When the tourists come into the town we just don't want them to blink and leave out. We want them to spend some time here in the town and their money because that's what it's all about," Miller explains. "Come to Mayesville and spend money and yet learn about the rich history of Mayesville."
While increasing tourism is a goal, Miller tells me listening to what residents want is crucial.
"They've asked for several things and most of our locals would like grocery stores and convenience stores," Miller says. "That's one of the things that they really ask for because we only have one store, which is Exxon station, and it has a convenient part to it. But they want a variety and that’s understood. We know that."
"A Dollar General, something should be in this town," Sumter resident Teresa Wells shares. "It's enough people in here to have that."
Wells passes through Mayesville each day on her way to work. Wells believes Miller’s revitalization efforts are a good start.
"It could thrive if you know if everybody get on board with it," Wells says. "Yeah, it will thrive because it's so much richness here in Mayesville."
Miller will work with the newly elected Massingill and Councilwoman Roteshia Benjamin. There will also be another special election in July for a third position open on the council after Erickson Jackson passed away earlier this month.
"It’s a council that works together. And it has to be a council that works together," Miller says. "We can't be divided if we want to grow."