RIDGEWAY — Ridgeway Town Council gave first reading to an ordinance to amend its water rates, spoke about progress to stabilize and restore the Ridgeway Arch, and recognized Dwight Robertson as Ridgeway’s Citizen of the Year.
“Dwight Robertson’s service to the Ridgeway Community can be summed up in three words, Citizenship in Motion,” read Ridgeway Mayor Charlene Herring from Robertson’s nomination for Citizen of the Year. “Dwight’s citizenship is characterized by movement, riding, cooking, standing and talking.”
Robertson’s work with Lebanon Presbyterian Church, Purity Lodge Shriners, Ridge Rider motorcyclists and the Town of Ridgeway were spotlighted.
“My wife said I never say no to nobody but her,” Robertson joked. “Coming up, I didn’t have a lot. I believe in giving back.”
Robertson was joined at the recognition by 18 members of his family.
In other business, it was reported that funds obtained from a Fairfield County Community Enhancement Grant were used to begin the process of renovating the Ridgeway Arch.
Councilman Heath Cookendorfer said the process has gone well so far, the arch’s foundation is more stable and the committee of Ridgeway residents working toward arch renovation is close to procuring drawings that would allow the project to move forward.
“We’ve got the first phase done,” Cookendorfer said. “I think Kenny Murphy’s done an awesome job. I think he actually went above and beyond what we talked about.”
Phase one involved stabilizing portions of the ridge foundation and solidifying portions of the foundation which had been eroded with cement and brick.
Cookendorfer said he is in the process of creating a GoFundMe account to help fund the project. He said the committee would like $200 from council to enable the committee to pay an architect for drawings of the arch, which will guide the project.
Councilman Russ Brown asked how much money had already been spent on the project.
Cookendorfer said $1,000 of grant money has been spent. Town Clerk Vivian Case confirmed the town has spent $1,000 and been reimbursed $1,000.
Brown voiced concerns about the town potentially providing the $200.
“I’m in favor of restoring the arch,” Brown said. “I think it’s a cool thing, and I think it’s going to be very nice and serve a lot of purposes, but from the get-go, we’ve talked about how much the town is spending on materialistic items, and I know it’s preservation at the same time, but this whole arch renovation was pushed by people in the community who wanted to make a difference, and so far, the town’s foot the bill on everything.”
Herring said the money provided so far had come from a grant.
Brown said the point was taken and he reiterated he is in favor of the project, but feels there should be more community fundraising efforts and more accountability for how money provided to the committee is spent.
“The community asked for it, and the town is on a tight budget as it is,” Brown said. “You can’t start a project, then be half-way through and not have the funds to finish it.”
Cookendorfer voiced agreement with both points, and he said he would set a meeting within the next week to look into finding alternative means of funding.
In other business, an amendment to Section 4 and Section 6 of Ordinance Number 3-1001, which changes a water rate usage increase from $1 to 10 cents, was given first reading. It passed unanimously.
The initial increase was made as a result of a misinterpretation of a rate increase from the Town of Winnsboro, which provides Ridgeway’s water.
Mayor Pro Tem Donald Prioleau also clarified the date of this year’s Pig on the Ridge as being Nov. 6 and Nov. 7.
Ridgeway Town Council’s next meeting is Sept. 10 at 6:30 p.m.
Reach Ben Hohenstatt at 803-635-4016. Follow him on Twitter @WinnsboroHerald