Good News for Winnsboro Landmark

WINNSBORO – Town Council got some encouraging news Tuesday night regarding the fate and future of a beloved Winnsboro landmark.

Winnsboro attorney Mike Kelly gave Council an update on the renovation of Thespian Hall, former home of The News and Herald Tavern that was destroyed by fire nearly three years ago. Kelly, who now owns the building at 114 E. Washington St., said that he had taken on the purchase and renovation of the Hall with his heart, not his head.

“I love Winnsboro,” Kelly said, “and I want to try to give back to the community by renovating the Hall.”

Kelly said that in the last three years he’s spent more than $65,000 on cleanup and repairs and is close to being awarded a Certificate of Occupancy for the Tavern. He said his next step is to renovate the apartment to bring in some revenue. He is also looking into grants through the recently passed Abandoned Buildings Revitalization Act so that he will be able to receive a tax credit for restoring the property.

Kelly said restoration of the Tavern to its previous elegance should be completed this year. He said as part of the renovation, he would like to turn the Charleston Room into a meeting place for the residents of the community.

“Other than the clock,” Kelly said, “the Tavern is about the most treasured property in the town.”

Farmer’s Market

The Fairfield County Farmer’s Market got a double boost at Tuesday’s Council meeting. First, Council passed final reading on an ordinance to reduce the cost of the annual business license for the market’s vendors from $50 to $15. Second, Mike Mills, representing the Fairfield County Farm Bureau, offered to pay that annual business license fee for up to 35 vendors. Mills said that if the number of vendors increases to more than 35, the Bureau would cover their costs as well. In addition, Mills asked that the Council allow the Bureau:

• to post a sign at the Market advertising the Bureau a sponsor;

• place a notice in the newspaper that would advertise the Bureau as a Market sponsor and let potential vendors know the Bureau would pay for their vendor permits; and

• allow the Bureau to provide informational literature about the Bureau to be given to vendors when they obtain their vendor permits.

Mills explained that the Farm Bureau’s interest in supporting the market is to serve the agricultural community, both the farmers who sell the produce and those who purchase it. He said the Bureau represents all South Carolina farmers and farm land owners and that the Bureau’s mission is to promote agricultural interests in South Carolina. At the end of the meeting, Council voted to accept the Bureau’s offer.

Council proposes to amend zoning

Council also voted to go forward with a zoning amendment that would provide for zoning for the Farmer’s Market within the Town. There is currently no zoning designation for a farmers’ market in the Town limits. The market currently operates on a vacant lot next to the NAPA store, which is not zoned for market use. Town Manager Don Wood explained that the current location is temporary until zoning can be designated for a permanent location for the market.