WINNSBORO —On the heels of months of diligent work regarding negotiating and persuasion for the Mt. Zion property, the Friends of Mt. Zion Institute (FOMZI) have saved the building from demolition and are ready to begin renovations.
Town council unanimously approved the final reading to transfer the deed of the 3.27-acre property to FOMZI for $5.
Winnsboro Mayor Roger Gaddy expressed his support for the citizen group’s project.
“We will go ahead and finalize this deal and wish you (FOMZI) all the success in the world,” he stated.
According to the agreement, FOMZI will have 18 months to bring the building up to code and 30 months to hire an economic developer for historical rehabilitation.
The final reading of the ordinance had stalled because of FOMZI’s struggle to secure property insurance.
In a letter written to the town, FOMZI chairwoman Vicki Dodds informed council she had taken out a $150,000 policy to cover the cleanup costs in case the group fails to fulfill the agreement.
The total premium is $2,840 and has already been paid in full.
In other business, the town signed a letter of support for Steve Boone, of Buckeye Community Hope Foundation in Ohio, to assist the company in receiving an allocation for affordable housing tax credit from the state.
Nearly 15 months ago, the not-for-profit foundation purchased the Deer Wood apartments off the 321 Bypass in Winnsboro.
Boone said total development and rehabilitation costs will reach nearly $6.6 million. Each unit is requiring $50,000 to $55,000 of rehab work.
Boone especially noted the complex’s need for a new community building and advised council of the foundation’s social services division that specialize in credit assistance and job training.
“We want our residents to be a valuable asset to the community,” he stated.
Council also unanimously voted to approve $113,000 of matching funds for a $1 million grant to upgrade the town’s sewer system.
The grant still needs to be approved, but town manager Don Wood said the $113,000 would come out of the sewer investment fund.
“This is part of our sewage collection lines and we’re going to enlarge those lines to prevent any backup of those lines,” Wood said. “That is what DHEC has had a problem with.”
Wood noted that there would also be improvements made to the wastewater plant to process water more effectively.