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Rep. Atkinson, Sen. Williams presents $50,000 donation to Marion garden club

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Rep. Atkinson, Sen. Williams presents $50,000 donation to Marion garden club

Rep. Lucas Atkinson and Sen. Kent Williams presented a $50,000 check to the Azalea Garden Club and Daphne Garden Club at the Marion Town Square on January 13, 2023.

MARION, S.C. – Rep. Lucas Atkinson and Sen. Kent Williams presented a $50,000 check to the Azalea Garden Club and Daphne Garden Club at the Marion Town Square Friday.

“They can use the funding and it’s the first time we were able to do something like this,” Rep. Atkinson said. “They’re going to split the donation. Nobody works hard as these garden clubs. Out of all the different groups we donated money for this is a worthy cause.”

Atkinson said he was happy to help members that work so hard in the community with projects and fundraising such as bake sales.

“I was glad to ask the state for help and this will go a long way. City of Marion does a lot of help with these ladies in tree planting and beautifying the area,” Atkinson said.

The Azalea Garden Club hosts an annual Arbor Day celebration along the Hike and Bike Trail on Bobby Gerald Parkway to Catfish Canal. Members of the club member have been active with community service for more than 70 years.

Organizers said the tradition of the garden clubs in Marion dates back to the late 1800’s and were a direct growth of the Marion Civic Improvement League, one of the first organizations in the state. By the early 1900’s, the members had grown in number, evolving to the Marion Club, which split into the Acacia, Azalea, Daphne and Wisteria groups. The Azalea Garden Club became federated in 1950.

The Azalea Garden Club beautification activities through the years include maintaining the memorial triangle for veterans on South Main St., landscaping the deserted railroad bed on the north side of town, maintain the park and garden house, assisting with historical restoration projects, supporting local schools, city Christmas decorating and more.

Marion Mayor Ashley Brady called it a great moment.

“They’ve done a fantastic with beautification,” he said. “It’s been a collaborative effort with the garden clubs, city and Historic Marion Revitalization Association. HMRA recently install benches at the fountain at the town square and plans to add lighting to the Marion County Courthouse.

“They do a fantastic job and these ladies are out picking up trash, putting together flower beds, planting new trees,” Brady said. “They’re a bunch of busy ladies and do a great job beautifying the city and are a great asset.”

Sen. Williams said club members help preserve the town’s heritage.

“This is good to keep our square beautiful,” Williams said. “The work that has been done here is a real transformation. We want to support this garden club. They’re very active all over the city of Marion. They’re great gardeners.”

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Born in Atlantic City; raised in Mullins. Graduated from SC State University, home of the mighty Bulldogs. Editor of the Marion Star & Mullins Enterprise. Loves spending free time with his daughter. Huge sports fan.

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