Pelzer officials looking into miracle field; acquiring rights of way for sewer project

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By David Meade

Pelzer Town Council is in the process of acquiring property right of ways for sewer upgrades and looking into the possibility of adding a “Miracle Field” to the town’s recreation program.

During their meeting Friday, Pelzer Town Council heard an update on the sewer project, decided to pursue grants for a miracle athletic field and set dates for holiday meals.

Town officials are looking into the possiblility of constructing a miracle athletic field which is specially designed for handicapped children.

Miracle Fields provide an environment suited for special needs youth and ball players and have a rubberized synthetic turf allowing wheelchairs and walkers to glide unrestricted.

Often the area will include wheelchair and walker accessible dugouts, bleachers, restrooms and water fountains. Some facilities include a special needs accessible playground area.

If constucted, the field will be the only one of its kind in Anderson County and the immediate area. “It would be a signature facility,” said consultant Blake Sanders, who is working on grants to help pay for the project.

Sanders said there are several grants available for an expansion of the town’s recreation department and the miracle field project, and there could be a partnership with Anderson County.

Sanders said there are grants available through CVS Caremark and the Christopher Reeves Touch the Future Foundation. According to Sanders, the Reeves foundation is matching up to $25,000 and CVS up to $10,000 for these type projects.

Sanders said he is also looking at the possibility of a greenway or trail along an old rail line in Pelzer.

Though no official vote was taken, consensus among Council was to look into the grants to help with construction of a miracle field. Estimated cost to upgrade existing fields and the miracle field is $2.2 million.

Sanders said that the town’s recreation program, especially basketball, is expanding and the town will apply for other grants to help with funding.

Pelzer Administrative Assistant Heather Holcombe said that the town is looking at fundraisers such as a mudrun or trailrun to help raise funds for the miracle field project.

The town is also applying for a PARD application to help pay for a shade area at the Pelzer pool.

AnMed Vice President Garrick Chidester spoke to council about what the healthcare provider is doing in the area. Chidester told council that Dr. Koontz’s physician practice was now a part of the AnMed program and that a new facility being constructed in the Wren area will be opening in January.

Even though Pelzer is on the line for Anderson and Greenville, he said AnMed is adding locations to encourage citizens to choose AnMed Health. “We are the main provider for Anderson County,” he said.

He said acquiring the Koontz facility and building the new facility in the Wren area will allow them to see more patients and to provide current patients with better care. He said if a regular doctor is not available, patients will be able to see a doctor at a nearby location without having to sign in as a new patient. “We will make the process more streamlined,” he said.

Town Administrator Skip Watkins updated council on Phase 2 of the sewer project.

Watkins said that the town is in the process of finalizing right of way acquisitions for properties where the sewer upgrades will be made.

Approximately 70 properties will be affected by the project which includes replacement and repair of sewer lines.

Total cost on the project is estimated at $3,944,000 which will be funded through a $2,879,000 grant and $1,065,000 loan.

Watkins said that residents will be invited to a modified public meeting in January to hear information concerning the needed right of way acquisitions and other details about the project.

The meeting will be announced and some information made available in a letter that will be mailed to residents being affected by the project. Tentative dates for the meeting will be Jan. 17 or 24-26.

Watkins said there will be two presentations during which the town will provide a light meal, possibly hotdogs and pizza.

Residents will be encouraged to attend the meeting where they receive answers to any questions and will be asked to sign the necessary paperwork on the right of way acquisitions.

In other action, Council decided to contact West Pelzer officials about a joint holiday meal on Dec. 9. They also decided to have a meal with just Pelzer town employees and officials on Dec. 11.

Council tabled discussion on a lease for property at 100 Courtney St.

During public comments, resident Margaret Jamison told Council she would like to form a group to work with the town on community service, preservation, art and goodwill.

Jimmy Harrison told council the Heritage Commission is working on cemetery cleanup and wants to have better communications with the town.