Mayor Hatem’s Community Update: Whittler’s Bench

In this video, Mayor Hatem discusses the updates around Whittler’s Bench at Waterfront Park.

Mayor’s Comments:

This is Dr. Joe Pat Hatem, Mayor of the City of Southport. 

If one knows Southport and has looked at photos from “The Way It Was” in The State Port Pilot, or seen the wonderful painting of Whittler’s Bench by Art Newton, there has been a major transformation in and around Whittler’s Bench. The trees are no longer here, Miller’s Hotel, once across the street, is now gone. The men who whittled, faded into the past. We cherish this past and bring it with us.  

In the photos, the art work, from earlier years, there is no anchor at Whittler’s Bench. As for the recent question of what happened to the anchor behind Whittler’s Bench, it was removed at my request, for the following reasons: Public Health and Safety. After receiving calls concerning injuries related to the anchor, locals and tourists, from tripping over the anchor to head injuries, it poses a safety issue. With respect to Historic Preservation and Quality of Life, did the anchor enhance the heritage and life of Whittler’s Bench? No. It detracts from it being a standalone monument and a symbol of Southport. Of note, the anchor was removed over eight months ago. 

The above principles I just mentioned, Historic Preservation, Public Health and Safety, Quality of Life, are some of the same principles I am using with respect to the new development, Project Indigo, and the proposed building at 115 N. Howe Street.  

As your Mayor, I am always interested in the concerns of our citizens. I welcome you to contact me. 

Stay well and stay safe as we embrace the wonderful heritage of our city.