Oakhurst Gets OK for Water

More Upgrades for Martin Park

WINNSBORO – Town Council Tuesday night gave the initial approval for water for phase two of a Blythewood subdivision, as well as OK’d improvements for one of the Town’s parks.

Oakhurst Subdivision

Developer Robert Wilder told Council that Oakhurst Subdivision, on Boney and Oakhurst roads in Blythewood, was ready to roll out its second phase, adding 100 new single-family homes in two phases of 50 homes each. While originally asking for 400 gallons per home per day, Wilder said Tuesday that request had been revised to 300 gallons per home per day, for a total of 30,000 gallons per day.

Wilder said water for the first 50 homes will be needed within the next eight to nine months.

Council gave unanimous approval, contingent on their acceptance of the developer agreement, a condition that has become standard in all developer water requests.

Martin Park

While Billy Castles, Director of the Building, Zoning, Streets & Sanitation Department, told Council that $4,400 in improvements had been made to Martin Park, and while Council had previously approved a total of $10,400 for park renovations, Castles and Councilman Danny Miller agreed that what the park really needs is another $19,050 of work.

Miller said the asphalt paving on the parks two basketball courts is cracked, uneven and riddled with potholes, making play unsafe. Miller also said he had concerns about some of the playground equipment, which he also said was potentially dangerous and could make the Town liable for any injuries to children playing there.

Castle said some rubberized mulch had been spread around the swings, but he was about 3 tons – and $1,900 – shy of what would be considered up to state Parks and Recreation Development (PARD) code. Castles also said 240-feet of fencing had been erected around the large playground, but an additional 8-feet of fencing was needed around the smaller playground, for a cost of $2,300. Miller also requested park benches, totaling $650.

Once the courts are paved, Castles said, the Electric Department will not be able to bring in large work trucks to service the lighting, since Council had budgeted for inch-and-a-half instead of 3-inch asphalt. To remedy that, William Medlin, Director of the Electric Department, plans to rework the lighting system so it can be serviced elsewhere, adding $2,500 to the cost.

When Councilman Clyde Sanders suggested applying for a PARD grant to cover the additional work, Miller recoiled.

“Why we didn’t see if we qualified (for a PARD grant) for Fortune Springs Park?” Miller asked. “One thing we talked about . . . was trying to make sure we bring our parks up to speed. That’s all of them.”

But Sanders said funding for the parks was discussed and approved during the budget process. The additional work on Martin Park, he said, was over and above what was approved.

Mayor Roger Gaddy, meanwhile, said he was concerned about spending so much money on improvements that may only be temporary.

“Martin Park has a long history of vandalism. We’ve put things in there and they’ve torn them up and torn them up,” Gaddy said. “We’ve had park benches torn up, we’ve had fences cut, we’ve had goals pulled down. It would be nice to have a nice park in that neighborhood, but by the same token, that community can’t just come here and say they’d like a nice park and then walk away from it. My question to you is, do you think the people wanting these improvements, are these people dedicated? Will they police the area and their community and call Public Safety when they see abuses down there?”

Miller said he felt the community was indeed dedicated to helping maintain the park, which he said hadn’t had any improvements since its inception more than 20 years ago.

“If you look at how the park has been kept over the last 20-25 years,” Miller said, “most of them probably feel like, the Town of Winnsboro doesn’t care anything about it, why should we care about it?”

But, Miller added, “The community has changed. What we have to do is try to empower them to take ownership of that park.”

Council ultimately agreed to spend $6,000 to resurface the basketball courts, as well as $2,500 for the lighting alterations and $1,950 for the mulch. The Town will apply for a PARD grant to cover the remaining improvements. If they do not qualify for the funds, Council agreed to revisit the matter and draw the money from the Town’s general investment fund.