Town approves funding for infrastructure plan

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By David Meade

During their July meeting held Monday, Williamston Town Council approved $10,000 in funding for an infrastructure review plan and heard an update from the Envision Williamston program. A special recognition was held for former fire chief and town resident Tommy Walker, who died June 17. Firefighting boots and turnout gear along with a black drape was placed on a chair in the center of the front row where Walker often sat for council meetings.

Councilman Rockey Burgess made several comments about Walker, ending with “Thank you for being my friend.”

Mayor Mack Durham said, “He always had the best intentions for our town.”

Councilman Otis Scott said he was “proud to call Tommy my friend.”

Councilman David Harvell said Walker helped him run two auto body shops. “We miss him.”

During public comments, Council heard a complaint from Lisa Fleming about overgrown property at the corner of Ida Tucker, Cherokee and Mattison Drive.

Fleming asked if something could be done about the property which she said has been a nuisance for years. She read a section of the town’s code about cleanup being the town’s responsibility.

Celia Myers of Anderson County Planning and Development told Council that a 10 year Comprehensive Plan has recently been completed for the County and multiple outreach meetings are being planned for citizen input.

She said a meeting is set for the Williamston, Pelzer and West Pelzer area at 7 p.m. August 2 at the Pelzer Community Building.

Durham said he was talking with County Council member Cindy Wilson about having a meeting at the Lander Library.

In her update, Envision Williamston/Main Street Executive Director Sonya Crandall thanked council for their unanimous support for the program in their recently approved budget. She said the Williamston In Focus Photography Contest had 40 photos submitted which can be seen on the town’s website. People can also vote online for their favorites. To access the photos and online voting, go to the Envision Williamston website at www.envisionwilliamston.com and click on Current Happenings on the Home Page or go to the town website at www.williamstonsc.us

Crandall said billboards and posters showcasing town festivals and events will soon be displayed regionally in six different locations.

Crandall said the Envision Williamston Economic Development and Placemaking Committee is planning an Adopt a Rest Stop program to place benches throughout town. She also said she has received three quotes on an electronic sign.

Mayor Durham asked council to approve a letter to be sent to USDA required for approval of a water meter upgrade grant.

The town is planning to replace all water meters with electronic ready meters.

Durham said the town must show a plan for upgrades and improvements to the town’s infrastructure, with earmarks of up to $1 million, before the town is eligible for the grant. The town currently has $1.2 million in reserves.

He said he would like to see a Capital Improvement Plan done which would cost approximately $10,000. The engineered plan will reflect the needs of the water system, he said.

Council unanimously approved up to $10,000 for the plan.

Councilman Otis Scott requested the agenda be amended to address funding for upgrades to the Municipal Center gym.

After amending the agenda, there was discussion about funding already approved for paint and redoing the floor. Scott said he wanted the $25,000 already approved to be used for those improvements.

Mayor Durham said there was a need to improve the air conditioning in the facility, as evidenced during a town’s July 4th meal held there last week.

“It is another need we may not have considered,” Durham said.