Recreation Back on the Table

WINNSBORO – Milton Pope, Interim County Administrator, told Council Monday night that the plan on how to spend $3.5 million in bond money to develop recreation in the county had entered its next phase. Pope said his staff had met last week with Ken Simmons & Associates (KSA), the consulting firm selected by bid to guide the County through the process, and that the firm would be meeting with each Council member individually in the coming weeks to review their wish lists for recreation.

Pope said KSA would be reviewing all extant recreation information complied by the County over the years, including the study conducted by the Central Midlands Council of Governments several years ago.

“They’re bringing their recreational experience to the county to see how we can maximize the use of $3.5 million that we have county wide,” Pope said.

Once the master list of projects is reviewed, Pope said, it will come back before full Council for a vote on how to proceed, “because we could wind up with a situation, based upon the master list, where those costs could exceed the $3,.5 million and they may not,” Pope said. “But we need to know what those costs are and if in fact there are going to be any continual costs or operational costs that we need to consider.”

Bruce Wadsworth, a resident of the Dawkins community who has been a strong supporter of erecting a rec center in Western Fairfield, said he was glad to see the subject up for discussion once again.

“I’m glad to see recreation is back on the agenda,” Wadsworth said during the meeting’s second public comments session. “My dad always told me that if two people are going to have something, they are going to have to work together. There are eight of you. You guys need to work together.”

Still, Wadsworth expressed frustration that Western Fairfield was still waiting on a facility after years of neglect.

“(Councilman Kamau) Marcharia says he’s been trying for years to get a rec out in the Dawkins community,” Wadsworth said. “It shouldn’t take years for eight people in your positions to get your heads together and do the right thing.”

On another recreation front, Pope reported that the engineering consultants Goodwin, Mills & Caywood, were given the go-ahead to begin reviewing the disaster at Drawdy Park, as well as reviewing other work performed by S2 Engineering in the county. District 1 resident Randy Bright, during the meeting’s opening public comments session, said Drawdy Park had gone from disaster to eyesore, and urged Council to take some action to preserve it.

“Council members, have you been to Drawdy Park lately? It’s an absolute embarrassment,” Bright said. “It’s in disrepair, there’s trash everywhere, there are accidents waiting to happen at every ball field. There’s big deep holes, drainage holes that have fences around them, trash has been thrown in them, busted pipes, exposed wire everywhere, exposed junction box.”

While Wadsworth would later lament the fact that Council was willing to spend more and more money on Drawdy Park while Western Fairfield did without, Bright questioned spending the money at all.

“I wonder what good will it do to spend $3.5 million on recreational projects if they’re going to fall into such disrepair like Drawdy Park has,” Bright said. “Drawdy Park is a sincere embarrassment.”

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