Mt. Zion Gets Stay of Execution

WINNSBORO – After hearing an impassioned plea for action by the Friends of Mt. Zion Institute (FOMZI) during a special work session last week, Town Council Tuesday night opted to table any final decision on the destruction or renovation of the Mt. Zion Institute building.

Prior to reaching their decision, Council heard from FOMZI’s Brenda Miller, who asked Council to consider a more modest proposal from the citizens’ group.

“While you’re considering discussion on the building,” Miller said, “please keep an open mind and focus on the auditorium and related structures. Those structures are very common and doable projects, and have been done successfully in Pelzer and Easley.”

In those cases, Miller said, old high school auditoriums had been rescued, renovated and turned into arts centers and complexes for use by the towns. Miller said FOMZI had been working on a proposal and could have one before Council by their next meeting on Oct. 15. Following executive session, Council decided to do just that, deferring any final verdict on the fate of the property until they could see a written proposal from FOMZI.

At the Sept. 24 work session, Vicki Dodds said FOMZI has raised approximately $60,000 to revitalize the building, with an additional $15-17,000 pledged. FOMZI was not, Dodds said, looking to the Town for additional funds, but for the green light to get started. With the Town holding the deed, Dodds said FOMZI is unable to put contractors to work, particularly on the roof, which she said had to be the first order of business. Dodds also indicated then that FOMZI would not be opposed to a scaled-down project that only saved the auditorium.

In a contractual dispute with the Town of Ridgeway, Council voted to deny Ridgeway’s request for a $1,400 refund for water costs. Winnsboro Mayor Roger Gaddy said that, last August, a pump in the water tank on Highway 34 failed. The Town had to restart the pump manually, Gaddy said. Ridgeway had concerns over the quality of the water and purged approximately 87,000 gallons of water from their system, Gaddy said, and was seeking the refund to cover the cost of the water plus labor.

“They did not call us or ask us about it (before purging their system),” Gaddy said.

In other water matters, Council approved two more water taps for a Blythewood development, bringing the number of water taps dedicated to phase one of Langford Crossing to 28. The 13.1 acre development is located on Langford Road between Russ Brown Road and Monteith Pond Road.

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