Williamston continues taking steps for future of town


During their meeting Monday, Williamston Town Council approved a property purchase, a zoning change and funding for a special event that will highlight where the town is and where it is going. Council also approved a resolution recognizing February as African American History Month and a request by Shady Grove Baptist to hold a gospel singing in Mineral Spring Park.
Williamston Police Chief Tony Taylor updated council on activities of the police department including an incident Saturday in which gunfire was exchanged between individuals and a recent incident in which officers were fired upon.
He said he reminded his officers that even though Williamston is a small town, “criminals don’t have lines and encompass Anderson and Greenville counties. “We try to make the public as safe as possible,” he said.
Taylor said that exchanges with the community helped in quickly apprehending the suspects and the incident remains under investigation.
Chief Taylor also reported that the SC Police Chiefs Association opposes the new legalization of marijuana bill that is being introduced in Columbia. The bill is primarily legislation allowing use of marijuana for medical purposes.
Taylor said members of the association have some concerns about it, including it not being regulated through a pharmacy and how it will be made available.
He also reported that the SC Municpal Association Insurance will not be auditing the department this year due to a 100 percent compliance on guidelines last year. The guidelines cover most areas of law enforcement.
Chief Taylor said the department will be purchasing new bullet proof vests with $4000 being made available through the Municipal Association and with funding from a Bullet Proof Vest program the Williamston Police Department has. “They will be made available with a very minimum cost to our citizens,” he said.
Envision Williamston Executive Director Sonya Crandall updated Council on projects the organization has been involved in including beautification, streetscape, business development and community engagement.
Crandall said the new Williamston Mobile App has 650 downloads and more than 7000 views. Envision Williamston has reopened the Main Street Challenge, with a grant of up to $10,000, to encourage a new business venture to open in Williamston. The program also has four facade grant upgrades being finalized.
Palmetto High art students are working on a fifth mural for the town and there are plans for a new mural walking tour, she said. EW is also working on a new “Welcome to Williamston” sign that will replace the one on Anderson Drive (Hwy. 20 Connector) entering Williamston from Anderson.
Two spaces are still available for any business interested, she said. The advertising space on the new sign is for a five year period with a $1000 donation that will go toward the cost of the sign.
Crandall said the new sign will complement the other welcome and gateway signs that have been erected in town over the last year.
Crandall said Envision Williamston and the Town of Williamston will sponsor a State of Williamston program called “Our Town Matters” on April 25. The program will showcase the town and include several community partners including the school district, the business assoication, envision Williamston and potential developers who will talk about the future of the area. The annual HOWDY Day Cleanup will be held sometime in May, Crandall said.

Williamston Mayor Mack Durham said he has met with several developers recently and the town is gaining more interest in residential development. He said it is good that they are promoting the town with a unified front.
Debbie Chapman gave a brief Codes Report (see separate story)

Williamston Fire Department Officers were recognized. Officers for 2019 are Chief Steve Ellison, Assistant Chief Dave Bryant, Captain Tim Heatherly, Captain Ricky Heatherly, Lieutenant Robbie Bolden and Lieutenant David Terry.

Williamston Fire Department Officers were recognized during the Town Council meeting Monday. Officesr for 2019 are (l-r) Chief Steve Ellison, Assistant Chief Dave Bryant, Williamston Mayor Mack Durham, Captain Tim Heatherly and Captain Ricky Heatherly. Not pictured Lieutenant Robbie Bolden and Lieutenant David Terry.

Chief Ellison reported that Williamston firefighters are being trained by the police department on use of NARCAN and will be carrying the opiod treatment on firetrucks. Ellison said the measure is primarily out of concern for the firemen and that police and EMS usually have it available for overdose incidents involving the public.
Pastor Darrin Johnson reported on the Martin Luther King Jr. Breakfast hosted recently at the Municipal Center Auditorium.
Johnson said it was an outstanding event and thanked the town and all sponsors who helped make the event happen.
“It couldn’t have taken place without the community,” he said.
Pastor Johnson said that different persons were involved in organizing the event. “It was not one person but was about team work, and people coming to Williamston.”
Members of Cub Scout Pack 13 of Powdersville attended the meeting and were treated to a tour by the mayor after the meeting.
In the business portion of their meeting, Council approved a request by Shady Grove Baptist Church for the gospel singing to be held in Mineral Spring Park April 13, if there is not a conflict with another event.
Council approved a resolution recognizing February as African American History month. The resolution states that it celebrates the contributions that African Americans have made to American history in their struggles for freedom and equality and deepens the understanding of the nation’s history. It also states that the Town of Williamston desires to specifically honor African Americans for their historical contributions to the town and for continuing to enrich our diverse community.
Council tabled discussion on approving funding for ticketed events from the hospitality tax fund.
Council approved the purchase of property TMS number 245-19-06-010 on Mauldin Street. The property purchased is being purchased from Lee Bagwell for $9000 which will come from the general fund. The purchase will clear the way for a proposed street connecting Cherokee Road with Prince Street at Main St.
Mayor Durham said “It is the last piece for an easement for Cherokee Road to Prince Street to create a four way intersection. The project is one of those in the Town’s Master Plan that was developed several years ago.

Council also approved rezoning town property on Mahaffey Road from INS – Institutional to I2 Light Industrial.
Mayor Durham said the zoning is part of an effort “to bring more jobs to our community.”
Council also approved funding of $5000 for the “Our Town Matters” event in April. the vote was 4-1 with Councilman David Harvell opposed. The funding will come from the Hospitality Tax fund.

Williamston Mayor Mack Durham talks with members of Cub Scout Pack 13 of Powdersville during a tour of Williamston Town Hall. The Scouts attended the council meeting and were treated to a tour by the mayor after the meeting.

Town of Williamston Codes update for January, 2019

Debbie Chapman present the following codes update during the Williamston Town Council meeting Monday:
1-Stop work issued until a business license was purchased
2-County Building Inspector Stop work orders issued until building permits could be obtained
1-Tall Grass/Brush complaint
2-Complaints of litter being left after an eviction
2-mixed pile complaints
1-10 Day Notice of Condemnation issued
1-Temporary Condemnation of a house due to safety issues
One court dismissed property issue after owner cleaned property as requested
Codes notes: At times people bring issues to the attention of the Town that are civil in nature. The Town doesn’t have jurisdiction over private civil matters but will work to enforce all local Ordinances, Federal and State laws to the best of our ability.