Williamston purchases properties, hears student safety presentations

Council approves property purchases, hears safety presentations from local students
During their meeting Monday, Williamston Town Council heard two community safety presentations by local students, approved purchase of two properties and heard about plans for a fundraiser balloon festival.
Council also heard a report from new Envision Williamston Executive Director Tony Brown and an update on the Christmas Parade from organizer Sherri Cole. Cole told Council that the annual Christmas Parade will be held at 3 p.m. on December 14.
Members of the Sparks LEGO League of Palmetto Elementary School presented information on an innovative solution they recommended for improved safety at two crosswalk areas on Main Street.  Both areas have had people hit by a vehicle. After studying the problem and talking with Williamston Mayor Mack Durham, the team members came up with the idea of creating a 3D Crosswalk where the soccer field and overflow parking meet on West Main Street and at the crosswalk on East Main St. A floating crosswalk is essentially a three dimensional design painted on the pavement which appears to “float”, giving drivers the initial impression of a raised impediment on the roadway and causing them to tap the brakes. The illusion is created by painting stripes and thick bars with a shadow effect.
The First LEGO league is a program that builds teamwork and leadership skills in students in fourth through eighth grade. Participating in the presentation were Calvin Landreth, Gabriel Milian, Peyton Freeman, Victoria Sweat, Lillian Sweat, Sarah McNutt, Lydia Norris and Roman McCall. (See separate story)
Also, the Blazing Broncos team 20160 presented information on a problem they identified. They pointed out that there is no designated handicap parking in Mineral Spring Park. The presentation included information about the number of required Handicap Accessible Parking Spaces required (three) and suggested parking locations and better access to playground and other areas.
Envision Williamston’s new Executive Director Tony Brown reported that he has been accessing the Envision Williamston program, talking with the former Executive Director on goals, had met with committee chairs. He has also met with Adam Chandler of RED City Planning, who is working two projects for the town. One is a retail and light industry plan and the other is a residential plan including visitor and resident attraction. Brown said he is working on rebranding and reimaging the Envision Williamston program.
Angie Stringer, Executive Director of the Cancer Association of Anderson, presented information on a proposed event called Hot Air Affair, which is a fundraiser for the Cancer Association. Stringer is proposing a three day, family friendly festival featuring hot air balloons to be held in downtown Williamston. If approved by council, the event will be held May 1-2, 2020 and include craft and food vendors, music, amusement rides, a patriotic jump by the Special Forces Association parachute team. The featured attraction will be Hot Air Balloon activities including a Friday evening balloon glow, Saturday flights and glow and Sunday morning Memorial Flight with celebration of Life and Remembrance Butterfly release.
Envision Williamston representative Debbie Chapman recognized 2019 Scarecrow Contest winners. Chapman said there were more than 20 scarecrows and approximately 600 votes cast in each category. (See separate story with photos).
During the business portion of the meeting, Council approved second reading on the purchase of property on College Street. Councilman Tony Hagood abstained from the vote due to his interest as owner of the property. The town is purchasing seven parcels from the owner Dontonia Hagood for purchase price of $10,000.
Mayor Durham said the property is an integral piece of property located between two other pieces of property owned by the town. The property lies between the old water plant and a corner lot owned by the town and provides road frontage on College Street.
Council also amended the agenda to address a rezoning request. Property owner James M . Stone requested that property at 501 Greenville Dr. owned by Stone and Sammy G. Woods be rezoned from residential commercial to office commercial to allow it to be used for the original intended use as a car lot. Council unanimously approved first reading on the change.
Council approved a resolution to make revisions to the town employee manual. The revision addresses annual leave on a yearly basis, sick leave to care for family members and bereavement leave.
Council approved to accept a parcel of property on Mill Street. Cr. Fahd A. Zarrouf is donating the property to the town. Mayor Durham said the property, which is near the old Gatewood subdivision entrance on Mill Street, is contiguous to town owned property and may be used for a future trail in the area. The old entrance has been graded and improved for beautification, he said.
Council also approved the purchase of property on Mill Street owned by Charles A Brooks. The property is  contiguous to the donated property. Durham said “It enhances our trail development to the river. It is one of the next steps in trail development and access.”
Council also approved a resolution to allow use of the Municipal Center auditorium for a swing dance class. Mayor Durham said there is interest in a 40s and 50s style dance similar to line dancing. There will be a 70/30 split with the town from participation fees, he said.
Councilman Rockey Burgess announced that anyone interested in serving on a town committee to see their councilman. Appointments will be made in January, he said.