WINNSBORO — Fairfield County Council unanimously passed second reading of Ordinance 634, which authorizes the execution and delivery of a fee in lieu of taxes and incentive agreement to “Project Leprechaun,” with the inclusion of real property located in Fairfield County in the I-77 Corridor Regional Industrial Park.
County officials are keeping details of the economic development project under a tight lid to keep the prospective company competitive in the economic arena, but the county has taken the next step to move the economic development project through the processes.
Council also voted to purchase 1.65 acres of property for $65,000 in Ridgeway for a new fire/emergency station Monday night.
The final reading was approved 6-1, with David Brown (District 7) abstaining.
The property currently houses a building, which District 7 resident David Brandenburg expressed concern about during the public hearing.
“It is an older building with smaller doors and in my opinion the building would need major renovations in the future,” he said.
Fairfield County Administrator Milton Pope explained that the building currently on the property would not be refurbished, but instead would be used for storage. Pope said that a new facility would be built pending council’s approval to move forward.
County staff studied the location with the fire marshal and chose the site specifically.
“The location of this property was very strategic for us because of the five mile radius you need to keep response times down to keep the ISO rating at the appropriate level we have,” Pope noted.
Pope also advised the public that the extra acreage was picked since the second reading because the property is actually two lots that are being purchased for the location to make sure the trucks have the necessary turning radius.
Pope requested council to defer final reading of Ordinance 637, which authorizes Fairfield County to purchase land known as Rufus Belton Park for recreational uses and location of emergency personnel and services, because Clay Belton asked for additional time to read the contract. Council appeased the request will consider the final reading during its next meeting on Aug. 25.
The location has a fire station, EMS unit, recreational facilities, baseball/softball field and concession stands. Rufus Belton Park has been under a long-term lease agreement, but the county is attempting to transition itself from a lease agreement into county ownership.
Fairfield County Council Vice Chairman Dwayne Perry (District 1) played Little League baseball at the park 40 years ago and expressed his adoration for the site.
“It has a great deal of history not only to the area but to the county,” he noted. “We’ve got EMS and a fire station on that property as well.”
Council passed final reading of Ordinance 638, an ordinance authorizing Fairfield County to sell 405 acres of county owned property on Center Creek Road.
Council passed the motion 6-1, with Brown abstaining.
The property was originally purchased for $638,000 over 10 years ago. Council looked at the property for economic development and opportunities of a residential/retirement project, but never closed a deal.
Pope commended the county Monday night for not following through with the prospective project.
“In retrospect I think the county was very wise,” he said. “A retirement community in that particular area would have been very challenging to have a successful unless there was a considerable amount of public investment. Normally, local governments do no get into real estate development.”
With the sale of the property, Pope said there are no known development projects for the property and there have been no zoning changes for the property. Pope emphasized that any zoning changes would have to go through the public process.
“This is a tremendous opportunity at what we’re selling this for,” “We’re going to recoup our investment, plus actually doubling it.”
The property is selling for $3,000 per acre, which will bring the county a sale amount of $1,215,000.
Mary Lynn Kinley (District 6) made the motion to approve the final reading of the ordinance as long as the proceeds of the sale are designated in two methods including, up to $25,000 set aside for the purchase of property for county recreational activities in the Center Creek area and the remainder of the proceeds be designated for economic development purposes in the county’s economic development fund.
Kinley explained that council had obligated itself to constructing a park in the Center Creek area as the basis of her motion to set aside a percentage of the proceeds.