Town May ‘Take’ Lot for Ball Fields

BLYTHEWOOD – Bob Mangone, chairman of the Athletic Field Committee, reported to Town Council Monday evening on the Town’s continuing ball field dilemma. Mangone told Council that he learned two weeks ago that the Richland County Recreation Commission can now afford to build only two ball fields on the 8 acres behind Bethel-Hanberry Elementary School instead of the four fields Mangone’s committee had expected and felt they had been promised by James Brown, chairman of the Richland County Recreation Commission. Money for the field construction was to come from $523,000 earmarked for Blythewood by County Councilwoman Joyce Dickerson.

But Mangone said Dickerson has directed the Commission to instead use the funds to refurbish the Town’s current ball fields on Boney Road. Dickerson told The Voice that the money was targeted for the refurbishing of current ball fields, not building new ones. Mangone said he hopes to talk with Dickerson soon to determine how much of the money might still be spent on constructing new ball fields. Mangone said Dickerson said she hopes to attend Blythewood’s August Town Council meeting to discuss the matter further.

Mangone also suggested acquiring additional land for ball fields by ‘taking’ property adjacent to the current fields. He asked the Town attorney, Jim Meggs, to step up the process for a ‘taking’ of the lot, which includes two mobile homes. Mangone said he has been trying to find out who owns the lot.

“That is a piece of property that should be taken,” Mangone said of the property.

Mangone also said he would like his committee “to look at alternate funding for ball fields in the town, such as creating a capital campaign with local businesses to raise big money — not candy bar stuff — to fund some of the ball field projects.”

In other business, Council appointed or reappointed several board and commission members. Perry recommended appointing both RCI (corporately) and Brian Blackwell (individually) as the Building Official of the Town of Blythewood. Duties will include residential planned review and code enforcement for the International Building Codes.

Debbie McLean was named to the Board of Zoning Appeals. Buddy Price and Malcolm George were both reappointed to the Planning Commission; Dr. Curtis Brown and David T. Shanes were reappointed to the Board of Architectural Review and Ron Friday was reappointed to the Board of Zoning Appeals.

Perry said he expects there will be a special called meeting of Council in August to discuss the construction of the playground in the park.