By Stan Welch
Approximately seventy five West Pelzer residents and visitors gathered Tuesday evening for the official opening of the new West Pelzer/Pelzer municipal center.
State Representative Anne Thayer was on hand, as well as town officials from Pelzer and Williamston. Thayer praised West Pelzer Mayor Blake Sanders for his vision in upgrading from the original nine hundred square foot town hall to the renovated former auto parts store.
“This is a great community, and it is lucky to have a mayor with such vision for the town, and a town council that works together so well. And of course, we all know town clerk Paula Payton is the backbone of the town,” said Thayer.
Citing his personal desire to have all of the town’s activities anchored in faith, family and friendship, Sanders introduced the Reverends Smith and Register, who both blessed the building and the town. Sanders had everyone present take part in the ribbon cutting, saying that the entire town deserved the credit for the project.
“This is not about me, or even the town council, although they were a great help,” Sanders said. “When I first suggested this project to them, they looked at me like I had three heads, and asked how the heck we were going to do this? Then we all sat down and sharpened our pencils and figured it out.”
One significant aspect of affording the renovation and relocation included large contributions of time and effort by various townspeople. Brent Payton, husband of town clerk Paula, was singled out for his contributions, which included helping paint the building and put down flooring. Sanders also put a lot of sweat equity into the project.
Sanders thanked the following for their help: Town of West Pelzer Council; Paula Payton – Administrator/Town Clerk; West Pelzer Public Works (Michael Mahaffey, Jeff Pearson); Chief Brewer and the WPPD.
The contractors and other groups who also helped on the project include: Vicars Construction, McCall Heating and Air, Central Electrical Service, Autech, Carolina’s Best Landscaping, Jeanes Sign Company, Design Depot, Brent’s Custom Flooring, Classy Cleaners and Restoration Chapel.
In addition, during the dedication ceremony, the town initiated its Expand Your Wings program as well. Expand Your Wings is an educational program that will highlight many of the town’s historic locations by the placement of a birdhouse at each location.
The birdhouses will serve as signposts along a historic walking tour of the town. Fifty birdhouses were built by students at the Career and Tech Center in Williamston. Students at Palmetto Elementary School painted them.
The new Municipal Center will also house the West Pelzer Police Department and municipal court. The building will also host the Pelzer town clerk’s office, a post currently held on an interim basis by West Pelzer clerk of court Shane Black.
The old town hall building will undergo some repair and maintenance and be converted into the Senator Billy O’Dell Community Center in the near future.