Rec Center, Market funding sent forward to council

WINNSBORO – The County Administration and Finance Committee recommended to council the allocation of $130,000 Monday evening for two capital building projects intended to contribute to the overall health of Fairfield County residents – a fitness center and the Farmer’s Market building.

The the recommended funds come from the existing $500,000 capital building projects budget.

“We’re using $30,000 of that money to renovate part of the old Everett School building [located in Drawdy Park behind the county administration building] for use as a recreation center facility,” County Administrator Jason Taylor said. “About a third of the $30,000 will be spent on the fitness area, a third on the office area and a third on storage.”

“The remaining $100,000 will be used toward the farmer’s market building, to take it from just a farmer’s market to an event facility that will bring in revenue,” Taylor explained. About $20,000 will be used to finish out the restrooms, $10,000 to bring a water line to the building, $30,000 for sprinklers and $40,000 for kitchen equipment.

The county is receiving additional funding from grants from Parks and Recreation Development (PARD) , Dominion Energy and from a Healthy People Healthy Carolinas (HPHC) grant awarded through a 3-year, $450,000 Duke Endowment grant that was awarded in 2016 to Fairfield Forward (previously Fairfield Community Coordinating Council), a 501 (c) (3) non-profit that is dedicated to identifying and addressing the health needs of Fairfield County residents.

“This grant money is to be spent for evidence-based interventions,” the county’s Community Development Director Chris Clausen told the committee, “on ways to make people healthier, giving them better opportunities to eat better or to have a more active lifestyle. So these two projects, in particular, were of interest to Fairfield Forward. They were already looking to do something for the farmers’ market. However, given the other constraints that we currently have, we have to complete the building, essentially, prior to July 1,” Clausen said. “With this funding Fairfield Forward is trying to spend, the Drawdy Park project also came up so they wanted to help with that as well.”

Since the first cycle of the $450,000 ($150,000/year for three years) from the Duke Endowment is almost over and the remaining funds need to be spent prior to July 1, the Fairfield Forward board voted to spend $75,000 on the fitness area equipment and $10,000 for temporary market manager positions at the farmer’s market to assist with processing SNAP payments.

“The board wanted to expend some funding on the purchase of kitchen equipment at the farmers’ market,” Taylor said, “but given the timelines with the grant, they opted to revisit this in the next funding cycle.

A $60,000 PARD grant will go toward a new HVAC system for the fitness area and office space. With the $75,000 being donated by Fairfield Forward and $60,000 from PARD, the fitness center project comes in at $165,000.

The request for the $130 funding from the county’s existing capital building project funds will next go before full council for consideration.

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