Master Plan Moves Forward

WINNSBORO – County Council Monday night unanimously gave administration the green light to broker a $303,163 deal with T.Y. Lin International to develop the Strategic Community and Economic Development Master Plan – a framework for how to put to use the tens of millions of dollars in revenues expected from two new reactors under construction at the V.C. Summer Nuclear Station in Jenkinsville.

Interim County Administrator Milton Pope said the plan would entail the revitalization of Winnsboro, Ridgeway and Jenkinsville, and would include an investment in infrastructure.

“That means roads and other infrastructure,” Pope said. “That means water and sewer.”

Speaking during the meeting’s first public comment session, prior to the presentation and vote on the plan, Ridgeway resident Randy Bright said each of the County’s previous strategic plans had included a call for the development of water and sewer infrastructure, but that those elements had never been implemented. It was time, he said, to not only have a good plan, but to follow through with it.

“The County of Fairfield is not the official provider of water and sewer in this county,” Pope answered in a preamble to his presentation of the Plan. “The Town of Winnsboro does control water and sewer.”

A larger, countywide water strategy, Pope said, could not be implemented by the County unilaterally, but instead had to be done in conjunction with Winnsboro and the county’s other smaller water providers.

The four phases of the Master Plan, Pope said, would include a project set-up, a County assessment of existing plans, a community development action plan and an economic development action plan. The latter, he said, was already under way through the I-77 Alliance.

“After we became a member of the I-77 Alliance, there was a regional economic development plan that was procured and has already been adopted by the I-77 Board,” Pope said. “All four members of the I-77 Alliance are updating their individual economic development plan, so we’re doing that on a parallel track. That will be folded into this process by the end of it.”

Addressing the use of elements of the County’s existing plans, David Gjertson of T.Y. Lin said finding out what is still useful in those plans will be the trick.

“A lot of these plans you mentioned, they’re gathering a little bit of dust,” Gjertson said. “That doesn’t mean there isn’t anything in them that isn’t meaningful. All of those documents will be included. The idea is to take that information and create a combined plan, a master plan.”

Pope said the plan will include “extensive public involvement” through community meetings and workshops, as well as through meetings with the county’s other local governing entities.

The process could take as long as a year to complete, Pope said; although Council could extend that with additional meetings, if necessary.

“Just make sure that you don’t forget other population centers – Mitford, and we have the 321 corridor that includes White Oak and Blackstock,” Councilman Walter Larry Stewart (District 3) said, “and Jenkinsville. Make sure they’re included in the data collection process.”

Stewart also asked that the plan be “implementable.”

“Not something that’s going to be put on the shelf and get lost, that we can’t implement and we have to hire another $100,000 consultant to come in and interpret it for us,” he said.

“Unlike some of the other studies you might have done, the public involvement process is very comprehensive,” Gjertson said. “We want to cover the whole county. Ultimately the goal of this master plan is not just to provide a master plan, but to provide an implementation program that is meaningful.”

With the approval, Pope said staff would now work with the County’s attorney to produce a contract, which would be brought back to Council on Aug. 24 for a final OK and an official start date.


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