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At an early age, I was introduced to the importance of being a public servant as my father, Wayne Fields, was a member of Lancaster, SC City Council and Lancaster City School Board. I learned from the best that being actively involved in your community is the only way to make a positive difference.
Public service has always run through my veins and after graduating from University of South Carolina with a B.A. in Elementary Education and a Master’s Degree in Early Childhood Education, I entered the world as a third grade public school teacher at Erwin Elementary in Lancaster County.
I moved to the Town of Lexington in 1993 when I started my non-profit career with Palmetto State Teachers Association. I quickly became enchanted with the small-town charm that is Lexington and all its quality of life amenities such as a stellar school district and award-winning police department. The atmosphere is one-of-a-kind and is filled with wonderful people and community activities geared towards the entire family.
My public service expanded when I was elected to Lexington Town Council in 2004. I have been an active contributor to the Town of Lexington Vision Plan, which was adopted in 2012. Projects such as Lexington Paw Park, Adaptive Computerized Signalization System and the award-winning Icehouse Amphitheater have been completed. These projects are valuable tools to not only strengthen the community through green space, infrastructure and recreation, but serve as an educational tool to our citizens and show them that great things can be done if we utilize our resources and all work together, allowing them to fall in love all over again with the Town of Lexington.
The Icehouse Amphitheater is our crowning achievement, winning the 2017 Municipal Association of South Carolina Achievement Award. Since opening in October 2016, the venue has hosted 75 events and welcomed over 60,000 guests. The venue would not have been possible without the collaboration of Lexington County and Lexington School District One investing into a Downtown TIF District. Through this partnership, we ensure that the school district can showcase their art programs and have an annual Art Walk and performances throughout the year encompassing steel drum bands, dance teams, jazz bands, orchestra and chorus. Additionally, it filled my heart with pride to see more than 800 citizens at our Movies in the Park presentation of The Greatest Showman, where every person sang and danced along to every scene. The Town of Lexington is honored to provide the Icehouse Amphitheater and to have our community come together to embrace the arts and participate in our various events.
Lexington, SC is a great place to live, work, go to school, and raise a family. I am blessed that I have been able to call Lexington home and raise my family in a town that I truly cherish!
About the author: Councilmember Kathy Maness serves on the Town Council of Lexington, South Carolina, and is the second vice president of the National League of Cities. Maness has been an active member of NLC since first being elected in 2004, serving as president of the Women in Municipal Government (WIMG) constituency group and in other roles including NLC’s Council on Youth, Education and Families, the NLC Finance Committee, and the Board of Directors. Her areas of expertise include education, finance and youth civic engagement opportunities.