For the two towns
By Stan Welch – A crowd of approximately thirty five residents, split pretty evenly, between Pelzer and West Pelzer, met Tuesday night to discuss their vision of the future of the two towns. The focus of the event centered on the potential appearance of the intersection of Main Street and Lebby Street, and the adjacent areas.
Consultants for the Main Street program, Arnett Muldrow, conducted the meeting and guided the citizens through a series of questions designed to elicit public input.
The history of the towns and their mill heritage was often mentioned in terms of what the crowd liked about the towns, while a lack of a sense of direction was listed as a problem in forging the towns’ futures.
Development of the mill properties and a return to the area’s traditional source of recreation opportunities was also frequently mentioned. West Pelzer Mayor Blake Sanders said that there was a very positive tone to the meeting, but that a general frustration was also evident. “I personally take that as a positive thing, because when people are complacent, they don’t get frustrated. So that tells me that these folks are ready to see some progress and are ready to help make it happen.”
Sanders said that establishing an identity for the area that both acknowledges the history while moving beyond it is one of the big challenges facing the two towns. Sanders said that he and Mayor McGregor of Pelzer and Mayor Durham of Williamston talk at least monthly, looking for ways to align the interests of the towns, in order to streamline operations whenever possible.
In other matters, the two towns now have one water and sewer department between them, having merged the two under the West Pelzer public works department. Sanders described the merger as a seamless transition. Both towns are expected to save about forty thousand dollars each from the consolidation. West Pelzer is continuing its search for an additional certified technician to fill out the staff.
Work has also begun on the renovations to the recently purchased building on Main Street that will become the West Pelzer municipal center later this summer.