By Stan Welch
MKSK, the consulting company employed by the Town of Pelzer, will present the final draft of the Pelzer Master Plan to the public Tuesday night, September 10 at 6 p.m.. The presentation will be followed by the regular Council meeting. The presentation is for information; no action on the plan will be taken.
The consulting firm has met with the public and with elected officials to gather information about how to move forward while remaining true to Pelzer’s history. The first principle consultant Tee Coker suggested was to celebrate the Saluda. ”The river is of course a tremendous attraction for the town. At this time, I would describe Pelzer as a town with a river. But it may turn out that Pelzer needs to become a river town.”
The next principle is to remember the community’s roots. “One of the challenges that any town with such a rich history faces is how to change and grow without abandoning or losing that heritage. Obviously there are structural reminders of that history here in Pelzer, but there are other, less obvious vestiges that need to be honored as well.”
The third principle plays into that, with a challenge to build a new legacy by reinvigorating the old mill sites and leveraging them to create new, vibrant facilities at the sites. And the final principle is to foster investment; again using the existing resources to attract future interest in the economy of the town.
In a related matter, at their last meeting on August 20, the Anderson County Council gave second reading approval to an ordinance authorizing the county to obtain a loan from the Brownsfield Cleanup Revolving Loan Fund (BCRLF) to be used in additional cleanup at the lower mill site in Pelzer, as well as the Toxaway site.
Third reading approval was slated for the first September Council meeting, but some issues with meeting public notice compliance prevented that. Instead, a special called meeting will be held Friday at noon. The special meeting was scheduled in order to allow some bid deadlines to be met. In addition to the loan vote, several other time sensitive issues are on the agenda.
The focus of the cleanup will be removing debris piles, and addressing asbestos problems in the large warehouse. A small warehouse on the site will be removed. A smaller grant of $48,000 will be used for asbestos and lead paint abatement in the administration building.
The principal loan would be $292,000, for a total cost with the subgrant of $340,000. The Pelzer Heritage Commission will once again serve as the pass through agency because their 501 (c) (3) tax status allows them to serve as the borrower. The interest rate on the loan is one per cent and thirty per cent of the $292,000 will be forgiven. The county will provide the collateral in the form of a $250,000 certificate of deposit throughout the ten year term of the loan.
Gail Jeter, representative of Cardno, the environmental engineering consultants working with the PHC and the county, anticipates a start date sometime in October, once the county gives final approval and the loan is actually processed.
“We should get started in the first part of October, and be finished no later than early December.” She also acknowledged that DHEC has approved the use of any left over funding in further mediation efforts, such as capping site, or increasing the barrier between any materials and the public. “We anticipate having as much as $60,000 available for that.”
By Stan Welch