Living

Think Batesburg-Leesville is stressed? Think again

People from all over South Carolina and neighboring states come to Shealy’s in Batesburg-Leesville.
People from all over South Carolina and neighboring states come to Shealy’s in Batesburg-Leesville. tdominick@thestate.com

Don’t tell folks in Batesburg-Leesville they are stressed. They beg to differ.

Emphatically.

Residents rushed to brag about their western Lexington County community in the wake of a story in The State, quoting a California-based company that ranked Batesburg-Leesville among the “most stressful” places in South Carolina.

Residents were quick to challenge the methodology and conclusions reported in last week’s article. (The report cited long commutes, rental rates and health insurance coverage as reasons).

Here, two Batesburg-Leesville residents, two town officials and a S.C. House representative state their cases for the place they love to live.

Blessed, not stressed

As I sit here and ponder the things that “stress” me out about living in Batesburg-Leesville for the past 41 years (minus the five at the College of Charleston, which may I add, were with my best friends from Batesburg-Leesville), my mind draws a blank.

However, I can tell you many things that I am truly BLESSED about...

1. Today, I asked about my first grade teacher, and yes, I can name them all, from Mrs. Hallman in pre-K to 12th grade.

2. I know all the students I graduated with from Batesburg-Leesville High School, by name.

3. My best friends are still my best friends and only live 10 miles away.

4. Don’t dare get sick, or have a death in your family! You will be supported by the whole community whether they are a personal friend or a friend of a friend.

5. Plan to spend extra time shopping local (which we all do), because it’s the best time to catch up.

6. I am completing my 18th year in Lexington 3 from where I proudly graduated. (Stress comes when you think you might have to work somewhere else!)

7. I have attended the S.C. Poultry Festival for 30 years and watched it grow beyond belief. Not to mention I have volunteered to help make it happen for the past 18. A dream come true!

8. My superintendent knows me, and all of my fellow faculty and staff. by name. And, BTW ... comes and plays basketball with our kids at recess.

9. We are all fed well because we are honored to have Shealy’s Bar-B-Que and Jackie Hite’s, which have ranked in the top 10 many times around our state.

10. My kids are growing up here, and this is the only town where you learn a sense of community, citizenship, and love from everyone!

So, “stressed” would only be NOT living in Batesburg-Leesville.

Brandee Quarles, Batesburg-Leesville

Everyone knows everyone

I certainly can tell you that living in Batesburg-Leesville is not stressful.

It is a quaint town that I am proud to say my three children grew up in. They played Little League ball (where the children can run and play at the ball park and be watched by your neighbors and close friends because everyone knows everyone), attended dance classes at Central Carolina Performing Arts Center in Batesburg-Leesville, and took classes at the local Midlands Technical College campus.

We enjoy the local restaurants, concerts in the parks, fitness centers and close proximity to The Big Mo (drive-in theater).

Are we a bedroom community? Yes, absolutely; but to claim it is a stressful drive is just not true.

Betty Grandy, proud to have moved to Batesburg-Leesville in 1984​

A prosperous future

Batesburg-Leesville is a thriving town of 5,400 residents in western Lexington County.

A quiet community nestled atop the ridge between the Saluda and Edisto river basins, Batesburg-Leesville is home to historical buildings and homes, some of the South’s best barbecue, and the South Carolina Poultry Festival with one of the largest fireworks shows in South Carolina each year.

What started out as two communities just a few miles apart has blossomed into a picturesque town spanning nearly 8 square miles. Since consolidating the two towns in 1993, Batesburg-Leesville has seen steady growth in retailing, manufacturing, entertainment and home construction. Even with the loss of a major manufacturer in the late 1980s and early 1990s, Batesburg-Leesville remained committed to a prosperous future.

By 2005, the town was once again on the move and began seeing significant economic development along the Highway 1 and Highway 23 commercial districts. Walmart, Zaxby’s, KFC, Auto Zone, Bojangle’s and numerous manufacturers like Ansaldo STS, Berwick Offray, Ridge Manufacturing, JB Martin, Fisher Tank, SC Pole & Piling, and boutique shops within the town’s two classical downtown districts formed today’s modern commercial corridor.

Investments by private companies, Lexington County and others are redefining Batesburg-Leesville as the place to raise a family, to work, and to play. As the fourth-fastest growing community in the fastest-growing county in the state, Batesburg-Leesville has experienced a building bonanza over the past 24 months. From a new industrial park to new retailers and restaurants, the town has seen nearly a 300 percent growth in the value of building permits and business licenses in the past 12 months.

With all this growth, Batesburg-Leesville has maintained its charming feel – the reason why so many are proud to call it home. Batesburg-Leesville is still a place where neighbors know their neighbors, where a warm smile and friendly handshake is found at every turn, and where children can laugh and play in beautiful parks until the fireflies come out.

Batesburg-Leesville is where living is easy.

Ted Luckadoo, town manager of Bateburg-Leesville, and Seth Duncan, assistant town manager

‘Good people doing good things’

It is refreshing for me to meet folks around here who understand the value of South Carolina small towns. We offer sanctuary from worldly hustle and bustle as well as the distractions of fast-paced living.

We know one another here.

We help one another here.

We know what we need.

We know how to roll up our sleeves and get it done.

We help each other because that has worked, and continues to work, in our neck of the woods. Has so for years.

​When you drive to our town – how about for some of the best barbeque you will ever eat – talk with our people. Do they sound stressed to you?

​You know driving in traffic is stressful. Does it really take a set amount of commuting time before it becomes stressful? That has everything to do with traffic everywhere, not just here.

​Bless their hearts, but that’s what bothers me about these folks in San Francisco, and those who would repeat what they are trying to claim. See, I can tell that they have never had the good fortune to spend time in a fine South Carolina community: Batesburg-Leesville.

​I hope you will.

​I also hope you will be able to develop a taste for what I have savored my whole life: good people doing good things to help out folks like you.

​Come see us!

​Ralph Shealy Kennedy Jr., SC House, District 39

Quick facts

▪ Towns of Batesburg and Leesville consolidated in 1993.

▪ Batesburg-Leesville encompasses nearly 8 square miles of western Lexington County and a small portion of Saluda County.

▪ 5,362 residents living just minutes from Lake Murray and I-20; two hours from the coast and mountains.

▪ Two historical downtown districts.

▪ Home to the South Carolina Poultry Festival and award-winning Shealy’s Bar-B-Que and Jackie Hite’s Bar-BQ.

▪ Highly competitive water, sewer, and sanitation rates.

▪ 276 percent increase in business license fees and building permits (value of work) in the past 12 months.

▪ Two dozen announced or completed construction or remodeling projects over the past 12 months​

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