FLORENCE---Florence attorney Ben Zeigler was named chairman of the Francis Marion Trail Commission during the group’s inaugural organizational meeting on the campus of Francis Marion University Wednesday evening.
The South Carolina General Assembly passed a bill creating a commission for the purpose of establishing a heritage trail across the Pee Dee and Lowcountry in honor of Gen. Francis Marion of Revolutionary War fame. Zeigler developed the concept for the trail and helped spearhead the legislative effort.
A native of Florence, Zeigler is a partner with Haynsworth, Sinkler, Boyd law firm with offices in Greenville and Florence. He earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of the South in 1992, a master’s from Oxford University in 1994, and a law degree from Harvard University in 1997.
The commission will work to establish a Francis Marion Heritage and Tourism Trail that would be the first of its kind for the Pee Dee. The commission is authorized to solicit and raise funds for the trail from public and private sources, and in coordination with the Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism, to designate the location and route of the trail to be included in the department’s State Trail System.
There are seven members of the commission: Fred Carter, president of Francis Marion University; George Estes of Columbia, representing Parks, Recreation and Tourism; Kitty Mescher of Pinopolis, appointed by the President Pro Tempore of the Senate; Mark Buyck III of Florence, appointed by the Speaker of the House; Zeigler, appointed by the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee; Bill Chandler of Hemingway, appointed by the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee; and one member yet to be appointed by the governor. Commissioners will serve four-year terms.
The commission reviewed a draft of bylaws and discussed statutory responsibilities, establishing an advisory committee, staffing and developing a master plan for the trail. The group will elect a vice chairman and secretary at a Sept. 29 meeting.
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