Stewart, Chair at Odds Over Rec Plan

WINNSBORO (Nov. 27, 2015) – Proponents of a Mitford recreation facility were thrown a curveball Monday night when District 3 Councilman Walter Larry Stewart, who had advocated for the Mitford location at County Council’s Nov. 9 meeting, suggested placing it instead on Camp Welfare Road near Carolina Adventure World.

Mitford resident Carol Turner, who gave a full-blown presentation at Council’s Nov. 9 meeting, reiterated Monday night the desire of the far-flung Fairfield community to have the center in their neck of the woods, straddling the line between the two voting districts.

“Within that location of the old Mitford Community Club schoolhouse that burned just a few years ago, there are 2,000 residents who live within a 5-mile radius,” Turner said. “It is ideally located, it is centrally located, it will be used.

“To be perfectly honest, the folks in Mitford don’t feel connected to Fairfield County, because quite often we don’t get any consideration except at tax time and election time,” Turner added. “This will be an opportunity for the County to demonstrate in an overwhelming way that Mitford is not an appendage of Chester County or an extension of Great Falls, but it does belong to Fairfield County.”

But Stewart, who asked Council to postpone a final decision on the location until Council’s Dec. 15 meeting, said Monday that there were arguments against the Mitford location. Those arguments, he said, were that the site was not the preferred 5 acres, and that it was not located close enough to the middle of that quadrant of the county.

“I have located 6.46 acres that is a quarter of a mile from Carolina Adventure World,” Stewart said. “It’s one, possibly one and one quarter miles, off Wateree Road. It’s on Camp Welfare Road.”

Stewart said Carolina Adventure World currently uses the property as an auxiliary parking lot, charging $5 per vehicle. That revenue could go to the County, he said, were a facility to be built there. But while Carolina Adventure World uses the property, the property is actually owned by Stewart’s CMC Foundation.

“I purchased that property and gave it to the CMC Foundation and we will let the County have it for whatever the fair appraised value (is),” Stewart said.

After the meeting, Stewart said he only proposed the Camp Welfare Road property as an alternative to satisfy the Chairwoman.

“Carolyn Robinson (District 2) doesn’t want it where it’s going to be, on that county (district) line,” Stewart said. “So I just threw that out there as an alternative. I’d rather have it in Mitford. She’s trying to say it’s not in the middle of the quadrant. Well, I gave her something that’s in the middle of the quadrant. I’m not running for re-election. She is.”

Robinson after the meeting said she would prefer building the facility closer to the bulk of her constituents on Lake Wateree.

“There may be 2,000 (in the Mitford area), but there’s 3,000 here (near Lake Wateree),” Robinson said. “We don’t have enough money to put one in each community. I’ve been looking on Wateree Road.”

Robinson said she hoped to iron out the dispute before the next meeting.

“It’s a matter of us sitting and talking,” she said. “We’re going to sit down and talk. There will be a resolution.”