Improvements, projects continue to gain momentum

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By David Meade
During their meeting Monday, Williamston Town Council heard information about a $749,000 sewer improvement project on Belton Drive and an update on the Envision Williamston program which has a number of projects currently underway.
The town was recently awarded a $692,000 Community Development Block Grant for the rehab project which includes installing 3,150 feet of eight inch gravity line and 12 manholes.
According to Murray Dodd, Engineering Manager with Goodwyn, Mills and Cawood, Inc., the project will begin with replacement of sewer lines near Dove St. and will follow the creek, crossing Belton Drive and on to Academy St. where it will connect to existing sewer lines.
There will be fifteen sewer service connections for residences on both sides who will be able to connect to the new eight inch line.

The project will require twenty easements, Dodd said.
Dodd pointed out challenges associated with the project include existing lines being located behind some houses, one home with an extension built on top of the sewer line, another building on top of a line, one manhole located right on the creek, and an area on Belton Drive where the line will pass very close to electrical transformers.
Construction cost including easement acquisition will be $652,000 which is funded by the CDBG grant.
The local funding match from the town includes expenses for engineering and administration fees totaling $87,600.
The town portion of the required match of $10,000 will cover fees for geotechnical exploration of $6,000, stormwater permitting $2500, and DHEC encroachment $1500.
Total project cost is $749,600.
Williamston Police Chief Tony Taylor reported the department recently held a community violence intervention project with approximately 30 young males ages 12 to 15 participating.
The project included speakers 10th Circuit Solicitor David Wagner and Greenville County Assistant Solicitor Jeff Westin, and a speaker from Unity Mortuary. Taylor said the project focused on making right choices and right decisions.
He said a book bag give-away will be held soon.
Taylor said the department has been working very aggressively on traffic incidents and only had two in June.
Envision Williamston Executive Director Sonya Crandall reported the organization currently has eleven funding streams and she is working on followup reports on several of those project grants including Palmetto Pride, MASC, ATAX and ARC.
Crandall reported that Dr. Lori Dickes, an economist and professor from Clemson University will be working with SGA Architects on a community quality of life assessment and return on investment for the Mustang Alley feasibility project.
She also reported that a Facebook advertising campaign had increased Envision Williamston Facebook likes from 991 to 1,937 in just four months. 841 of those were from the Greenville/Spartanburg metro area she said.
Crandall said the project “really took off and showcased events in the town.”
She also reported that there were fourteen new business licenses in the town during 2016-17 and that public and private reinvestment estimates were up from $748,000 to $2,742,000.
Crandall said the town is expecting three new businesses to open in July and hopes to award two, possibly three grants for new businesses through the Main Street Challenge.
Crandall said there have been eight applications for the program.
There are currently fifteen applications for the Facade Improvement grants available through Envision Williamston and the Town. The program expects to award grants to seven or eight of those applicants she said.
Crandall also reported they are working on a visitor intercept survey for upcoming events, an updated business assistance guide, a new dining and shopping guide, a walking tour and a new rack card for real estate and financial services available in the town.
Envision Williamston is sponsoring a Solar Eclipse Viewing event on Aug. 21.
Crandall said the town has several upcoming events including Party in the Park on Aug. 5, Spring Water Festival Aug. 25 and 26, followed by the Homestead Festival and a three part Jazz series later this fall.
Crandall said Envision Williamston is also looking at a mapping project and online application connected with the walking tour.
Debbie Chapman gave a codes enforcement report.