Greater Williamston Business Association, town working together on improvements


The Greater Williamston Business Association met Tuesday, June 20 at Fiesta Restaurant in Williamston. Topics covered include AFJROTC, economic development, and GWBA projects.

Col. Mike Creamer of the Palmetto High School AFJROTC thanked GWBA members for supporting the ROTC program. by helping fund cadets participation in the Leadership school.

The school was able to send 18 cadets where many others had to cut back due to the cost involved, Creamer said.

Creamer said with the GWBA individual and a group match, “every penny was covered.”

Members of the local JROTC unit received seven individual awards and one was in a “Best Flight” Creamer said.

“I want to say thank you. We appreciate everything you have done for us.”

The GWBA will provide the Williamston Police Department with $250 for the Meet Your Cop Day this Saturday, June 23 and $400 for inflatables at the Town’s July 4 celebration June 30.

Terri Gilstrap, who represents Anderson County Economic Development, gave a brief presentation on her work as a liaison with existing business and industry in the county. “I’m here to help you,” she said.

Gilstrap said she coordinates with industries on incentives that may be available on the local and state level and to help get industry representatives in touch with the person who can help them.

There was a mention of the annual golf tournament in September or October and brief discussion about doing something during the Spring Water Festival.

The group is considering a booth at the festival where they will hand out information for member businesses. They may also have GWBA Collectors Christmas Ornaments.

President John Thomason reported he has a professional looking at the 503C-4 status of the organization with the IRS.

There was discussion about improvements to the water tank property on West Main. A GWBA committee is looking at a structure of some type, possibly a gazebo, on the property which is owned by the town. The town is replacing a deteriorating block wall at the site and GWBA members have expressed interest in making it a more appealing entry site for the town.

GWBA members and Town Councilman Dr. Mack Durham said the site “is a very visual point and the town and GWBA need to capitalize on that.”

It was decided that the committee will meet with the town engineer to see what options he may provide. The town is providing $10,000 to replace the wall, with any additional improvements to be paid for by the GWBA.

Williamston Mayor Carthel Crout said the town will replace the block wall structure with drainage, tie in rods and other necessary requirements to make it safe. The GWBA has suggested that decorative block be used to improve the site which is a main intersection entering the town’s business district.

In other discussion, Durham suggested the town could use funds from the Aid to Subdivisions to provide a matching grant fund for Williamston businesses who make improvements to their facades.

Durham suggested the town may set aside $30,000 to $40,000 for the grant project.

Mayor Crout said the money Durham is suggesting to use is provided by the state on a quarterly basis and could be cut off at any time. He suggested limiting the fund to $10,000 to start with. He also suggested the GWBA form an input committee to come up with guidelines for the program.

GWBA members Mike Simpson, Roger Welborn and Faye Meares were named to the committee.

Mayor Crout reported that bids were recently approved for paving the parking lot behind the Municipal Center and in Mineral Spring Park.

The next meeting is tentatively set for July 17 at Subway.