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'All is not lost': Small SC town mayor pushing for positive change

Mayesville Mayor Jereleen Hollimon-Miller says she's hoping to revitalize the area.

SUMTER COUNTY, S.C. — News 19 Street Squad visited Mayesville where people say they hope to see the area grow.

We met with the town's mayor Jereleen Hollimon-Miller to see how she's working to bring positive change.

They're already breaking ground on downtown apartments, according to Hollimon-Miller, and she's hoping the opening of the Mary McLeod Bethune Learning Center will help make the town more attractive. 

A Mayesville native, Bethune became one of the most prominent black educators and civil rights leaders of her time. 

She founded Bethune-Cookman College, now Bethune-Cookman University, and worked as an adviser to President Franklin D. Roosevelt giving African Americans a voice in government. 

"What we're trying to do is make the town a tourist town for folks all over to learn her story," Hollimon-Miller said.

Each year a festival is held in Mayesville attracting hundreds to the area in Bethune's honor. 

Hollimon-Miller hopes people can connect with Bethune's story and feel encouraged that they too can grow up in Mayesville and become someone special.

"The children... hopefully they can see a rebirth of the town," Hollimon-Miller said, "If you got faith, anything is possible."

She's worked to bring a nature trail and gazebo to Mayesville, and also establish new town ordinances. 

Under her leadership, they've also received grant money for a Mayesville-Sumter sewer line and upgrades for area water pipes.

"Know that all is not lost," Hollimon-Miller said. "God controls everything and this is his, so I would love for the people to come and see this beautiful town."

News 19's Street Squad discovered this story while talking to people in Sumter County.

If you have a story idea you'd like to share, email StreetSquad@WLTX.com, use the #StreetSquad19, or click here to connect with Street Squad Sumter on Facebook.