Mayor Haynes takes ‘last dance’ with WSS City Council

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A White Sulphur Springs architect has offered to design the city’s new swimming pool for $1.

Tom Crabtree, of Crabtree, Rohrbaugh & Associates Architects, and a Greenbrier Sporting Club resident, has been an active player in the rebuilding of White Sulphur Springs after last year’s devastating floods, including being a leader in the Hope Village home building project.

White Sulphur has secured funding to replace the pool, out of commission since water leaks forced its closing in 2014. At a meeting of city council Monday evening, a unanimous vote gave Crabtree’s firm the go-ahead to design the new pool.

The pool is just one piece of the Memorial Park puzzle that council continues to put together. After last year’s flood destroyed the park, and flood debris and toxins made the park unusable, the city, and council member and parks commission head Audrey Van Buren, has worked diligently to restore it.

During Tuesday’s meeting, Mayor Lloyd Haynes announced that FEMA funding has been approved to restore the park.

Monday’s meeting was Haynes’ last one as mayor. The city election was to be the next day, and Haynes was not seeking reelection.

During the meeting, he addressed council and the crowd who’d gathered at City Hall.

“This is my last dance,” Haynes said. “And I want to thank each and every citizen of White Sulphur Srprings. We’ve had a terribly rough time over the last year. With the advent of the flood, we all went through hard times, and I’m no exception.”

The mayor detailed that two days after the flood waters crippled the city, his wife, Garnett Haynes, passed away.

“She was my life partner,” Haynes said.

Turning to city affairs, Haynes stated his hope that the town’s leadership would “keep our city going forward. We don’t want to go backward.”

Haynes then presented a list of accomplishments that he and the town council have met over the last two years. Items he presented included the acquisition of funding from the Greenbrier County Commission to aid in the building of the new pool, the acquisition of a new maintenance facility at no cost to the city, the city’s brand new farmers market, the development of Hope Village, the replacement of the Gum Street  bridge, paving of flood-damaged streets, the partnership the city formed with area veterans to build a veterans’ memorial, restoration of the city’s old mill, now the home of a municipal museum, and more.

When Haynes finished his farewell speech, a visibly emotional Councilman Mark Gillespie presented Haynes with a plaque commemorating his service to White Sulphur Springs.

After the meeting, Haynes said that, despite his retirement from public office, he still expected to be active in public life.

“I’m not going anywhere,” he said. “At least,” he chuckled, “I hope I’m not.”