WINNSBORO — Winnsboro Town Council’s most recent meeting featured the oath of office for Councilman Danny Miller from District 1 and Councilman Clyde Sanders from District 3 along with a discussion of improvements to Martin Park.
Council had previously approved $10,400 of improvements to Martin Park, which included mulch around swings and slides, re-paving the existing basketball court and a new fence around the playground.
Bill Castles, director of the Parks, Streets and Sanitation Department for the Town of Winnsboro, said $4,400 of that initial improvement has been spent renovating the park.
“A few weeks ago, Councilman Miller, myself, and Mr. Castles (and Councilman Sanders) went over to Martin Park, and there are some additional improvements Mr. Miller would like to see made,” Town Manager Don Wood said.
Miller explained constituents had expressed concern regarding Martin Park’s safety and quality.
The list of additional improvements includes additional paving, additional fencing, more mulch, two new park benches and new lighting, which would bring the cost of the project to $25,050, a $14,650 increase from the previously approved total.
A major contributor to the proposed increase was the request for additional paving.
“All the asphalt together came to $17,000,” Castles said. “You had previously approved $6,000 to do the (basketball) court.”
Sanders asked if it would be possible to apply for a Parks and Recreation Development (PARD) fund grant to fund the project. Wood responded affirmatively.
“We’re not certain it would be eligible, but we will certainly pursue it,” Wood said.
Miller made a motion to approve the additional improvements, which was seconded by Councilman Stan Klaus, District 2, which prompted further discussion.
“I certainly think the kids ought to have a nice park to play in,” Mayor Roger Gaddy said, noting that Martin Park has been vandalized in the past. “That community can’t just say, ‘We want a nice park,’ then walk away.”
Miller agreed vandalism would need to be discouraged.
“I concur that they (the community) need to take ownership of it,” Miller said.
Miller said he believed the community would rally behind a drastically improved park and deter vandalism. He also said the park’s current condition could leave the Town of Winnsboro liable for potential injuries.
“Everyday, we’re actually taking a risk,” Miller said.
Winnsboro resident Sarah Bryant, who had previously shared an economic development presentation with Council, suggested it may promote a sense of ownership if the community helped with the improvements by possibly spreading the new mulch.
Miller and Gaddy seemed open to the idea, although Wood noted it would be a liability concern.
Ultimately, Miller amended his movement to include improvements to lighting for $2,500, an additional three tons of mulch for $1,950 and additional fencing — including a truck gate — for $2,300.
The motion passed unanimously and it was agreed a PARD grant would be pursued, and the additional improvements would be revisited.
In other business:
• Council voted to accept Digging Deep Construction of Sumter’s bid for the Mt. Zion trail. Digging Deep’s bid of $82,456 was the lowest of three bids received for the project.
• Council approved a water capacity request to provide 100 lots in the Oakhurst subdivision on Boney Road in Blythewood with 400 gallons of water per day.
“If we have the capacity, I make a motion to approve it,” Klaus said.
• Several Winnsboro residents discussed the condition of a property located near the intersection of Congress and Evans streets. Residents complained about piles of metal and refuse on the property.
“We’re also experiencing snakes and rats,” said Carolyn Douglass. “We believe it’s coming from that junk.”
Gaddy assured the residents Town of Winnsboro will look into the matter.
• Winnsboro Town Council next meets at 6:15 p.m. July 21 at Winnsboro Town Hall.