Improvements show signs of more to come for Williamston

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A number of improvements have been underway at various locations in Williamston and some activities may be a preview of things to come.

The Town of Williamston is making improvements to the youth ball fields located behind town hall and to restroom facilities at the high school ball field.
According to Mayor Rockey Burgess, a non slip coating has been put on the restroom floors which allows for easier pressure washing and sanitation and new LED lighting has been added.
Burgess said the town is putting approximately $5000 into improvements of the youth ballfields.
The Dale Martin Rec complex currently has three little league fields, which Burgess said “were not in the best shape.”
New dirt has been brought in and laser leveled on all three of the youth league fields.
“The rec department is very pleased with the improvements,” Burgess said.

Anderson School District One has also donated the old high school baseball field scoreboard to the town. The scoreboard will be reinstalled at the youth league fields, Burgess said.
Other improvements are planned including paving the parking gravel parking lot across from the Veterans memorial and baseball field.
Burgess said the town has a deal with the school district to provide funding toward additional parking which will be beneficial to the school district and the town.
There are future plans for three little league fields, on T-ball field and a softball field for the area.
The town plans to pursue funding to make major upgrades in the future including the concession stand, new restrooms and a press box and score facility. The recent extension of the lease for the youth league ballfields was approved by the School District, which will allow the town to pursue grant funding to help with improvements.

Burgess said he also plans to use hospitality tax funds for much of the improvements. Recreation is one of the allowed use of the 2 percent tax on prepared food and beverages sold in the town.
I want to use hospitality tax funds to on projects that will continue to generate revenue, he said. “Not one and done. I am more inclined to do tangible things.”
Burgess said he is looking at bonding out hospitality tax revenues over a ten year period to do the project.
He said he still will use hospitality funds for events, but also things things that will grow the hospitality tax.
Hospitality tax funds can be used to promote recreation and tourism and some related expenses and capital improvements.

“We want to ensure that the rec program is important to the Town of Williamston,” he said. “We also want to ensure they have an adequate facilities until we can make major improvements.”

Burgess said the Williamston Recreation Program has approximately 800 kids participating with less than 10 percent being Williamston residents.

He said he plans to go to Anderson County and with all three communities, including West Pelzer and Pelzer, hopes to get additional funding to help with major improvements to the facilities.

Other improvements are being made in Mineral Spring Park including upgrading electrical, playground mulch and new stain on the “wedding” gazebo.

Other actions by the town show that there may be some new economic development happening in Williamston soon.

Williamston Town Council held a special called meeting last Thursday to hold first reading on two ordinances allowing of the purchase and sale of property located near Pelzer Avenue .
The first ordinance allows the purchase of a strip of property containing .012 acres for the purchase price of $22,000. The second ordinance allows for the sale of a strip of property for $1 to a developer only identified as “X, Inc.”
The ordinance states that the parcel of property is essential to a potential economic development project and that the economic development project would enhance the town’s infrastructure.

During a recent work session, there was some discussion related to a company identified as X Inc., exploring an economic development opportunity in the town. Three small pieces of property bordering Town Square Center would be involved if the opportunity is pursued. An independent title search of the properties produced uncertainty over the town’s interest, according to town attorney Lee Cole.

At the regular council meeting the following Monday, Council approved the sale of .17 acres of property on Pelzer Avenue that the town may or may not have an interest in. Mayor Rockey Burgess said the ordinance allows him to release the property to a developer for $1 if it is determined the town does have an interest in it.

The properties are located at the entrance to Town Square Center, at Pelzer Avenue where it meets Town Square Center and a strip of property located behind Town Square Center adjacent to a School District One ballfield.

Also, during a recent meeting, the Anderson School District One Board gave the superintendent permission to enter a contract for the sale of approximately 0.24 acres for Economic Development Purposes.

At the same meeting, the AD1 School Board also approved renewal of a Youth Athletic Field Lease to the Town of Williamston. The renewal of the lease is for 20 years, 2021-2041 for the purpose of increasing opportunities for the town of Williamston to receive grants.

Williamston Burgess said an agreement with School District One will allow additional parking spaces along the back and side of Town Square Center adjacent to the ballfields.