EDITORIAL: Martha Dendy - Undamaged
We’re not really sure how - Grace of God, we suspect - but the new trees and gazebo at Martha Dendy Park were unscathed by the Jan. 11 micro-burst.
All around, especially near Friendship AME Church Cemetery, Jefferson Street and Beauregard Street, and Airport Road, older trees were snapped, power lines came down, and houses had anything from a branch to small trees on their roofs. Some trees were uprooted, taking the sidewalk with them. Yet, this is the gazebo (pictured) just after the storm, anchored proudly.
The City of Clinton has made a concerted and admirable effort to enhance the grounds of the former Martha Dendy School. The basketball court is in good shape. Trees are twigs now, but these will grow into a beautiful canopy, and there is a swale, designed to capture and re-channel rain water away from the park. Historical markers tell the Martha Dendy story.
Much more can be done there, and we have explored that matter in depth in the past. For a time it seemed the closed school building was a hot topic among people who wanted to acquire it. The city was faced with the “no-win situation” of what to do with a dilapidated pool (eventually bulldozing it and covering the hole). We certainly wish the City of Clinton and School District 56 could have combined efforts to make this building an enterprise center - it’s not too far from the Empowerment Zone on Charlottes Road - but that time seems to have passed; 20-20 Hindsight is pointless.
Other Clinton “old schools” have moved into new lives. Summit Classical School sits on the campus of the former Florida Street School, whose auditorium now is a church. The former Bell Street Middle School has seen use by the SC Empowerment Center, and now the Presbyterian College wrestling program. MS Bailey still lives as the MS Bailey Child Development Center. The former Thornwell High School now is the Thornwell Charter School. Yet, Martha Dendy School, has not yet found her way. Perhaps future negotiations can somehow set that path.
In the meantime, Clinton residents of the Martha Dendy neighborhood should stay hunkered down as a mild winter washes over us (we say “mild”; however, the feels-like temperature for a time last Tuesday was registered at 19 degrees, brrrr). Some digging out and tree/wood removal is still going on from the winter storm earlier this month.
But, spring is coming. A time of reflection on the gazebo swing, with the newly planted trees budding for the first time, might be just what’s needed to come out of the winter blues.