Town Clock to get Facelift

WINNSBORO – Much-needed work on the structure most closely associated with downtown Winnsboro will get under way next month after Town Council voted unanimously Tuesday night to accept the bid from Huss, Inc., an historical restoration contracting firm from Charleston. The Huss bid came in at $258,747, beating out the MCON Construction Company’s bid of $394,583 and the Carolina Restoration and Waterproofing, Inc. bid of $719,731.

Huss has a track record of historic renovations, Winnsboro Mayor Roger Gaddy said, and the company’s Web site notes their work on the Chesterfield County Courthouse, the Bishopville Town Hall and many faҫades on buildings along Bishopville’s Main Street. Gaddy said Huss would remove the earthquake stabilizers from the clock, paint the building and restore the face of the clock. Don Wood, Town Manager, said Huss’ first order of business would be to ensure the structural stability of the building.

“The major emphasis is stabilizing it for the next 20 years,” Wood said. “Once they do that, then we can do some of the cosmetic stuff.”

Work is scheduled to begin on the clock April 3, with no firm completion date; although Wood said the project would be completed before October’s Rock Around the Clock festival.

Councilman Bill Haslett, noting the availability of $500,000 in community enrichment grant funds, suggested Council consider purchasing property behind Wal-Mart and the building there once home to a local skating rink.

“It’s got plenty of parking,” Haslett said. “It’s a building we can buy right. I’d like us to consider that.”

Wood said the Town had considered the property in the past, but found the asking price – $700,000 – to be too high.

“When we looked at it, we thought it was overpriced,” Wood said.

“I think we can buy it cheaper,” Haslett said. “The people are anxious to sell. Their agents have called me every week. I haven’t returned their calls, yet.”

Haslett and Billy Castles, the Town’s Building and Zoning Director, speculated that a similar sized building – 30,000 square feet – could cost as much as $1.2 million to build today.

“I think we could have it for half a million dollars,” Haslett said.

Wood said the building could be used as a new location for the Town’s Public Safety Department, which is currently housed in an aging building with a leaky roof. Wood also suggested that the Town Hall could also relocate some or all of its offices there.

“Public Safety has an issue,” Wood said. “It would be good to keep all the fire trucks together. We’ve still got one in the storage warehouse. And we feel kind of odd in this building (Town Hall), with only four of us here. We could also have Council meetings there.”

The building comes with 3 to 4 acres of property, Haslett pointed out.

Gaddy said the grant funds in question come with some restrictions on how they can be used, but added that a fire substation and public safety were among the allowed uses. He said he was also not sure how much the Town would have to pony up in terms of matching funds.

“We can explore that and look at it,” Gaddy said. “That’s not an unreasonable thing to do.”

Council meets again March 19 at 6:15 p.m. at Town Hall.

Speak Your Mind