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The City of Loris received a Municipal Achievement Award for its new public safety building. Officials were presented with the award during the Municipal Association of South Carolina's 73rd Annual Meeting on July 20. The town won in the 1,001 - 5,000 population category. Thirty-three cities and towns submitted their projects and initiatives.
The old Loris public safety building was so cramped that police officers were doing their paperwork from jail cells. Important fire equipment was crowded into garages, and firefighters lacked meeting space and sleeping quarters. Officials understood that a new facility was vital and that outside funding would be essential for such a massive project.
Officials asked their local council of governments for help in pursuing grants. A team was put together to identify and secure funding. Grants from the South Carolina Department of Commerce, Horry County and the USDA Office of Rural Development kick-started the project. Various individuals made donations to furnish and landscape the new building.
Town officials held an open house so that residents could see for themselves the outdated facilities. After the event, residents voted resoundingly to pass a bond referendum for the city to fund the project. With the money in place, construction began.
The new public safety building is practical and modern. Firefighters have a comfortable day room, sleeping quarters, kitchen and showers while police officers now have their own offices as well as secure evidence and interview rooms. The departments share conference space and a training area. A backup emergency generator ensures police and firefighters will be ready for a city-wide crisis. The facility meets the community's current needs and has space in the event of future growth.
"The new public safety building is one that Loris firefighters and police are proud to call home, it provides adequate storage for essential public safety equipment, and residents are proud to visit," said Miriam Hair, executive director for the Municipal Association.
Achievement Award winning entries represent innovative projects undertaken by Municipal Association member cities and towns. More information and a video about the project are available on the Association's website.
The Municipal Association of South Carolina initiated the Achievement Awards in 1987 to recognize and encourage innovations and excellence in local government.