Bell, Roseborough announce new location for $2.5M Ridgeway rec center

RIDGEWAY – The majority 4 council members voted last month to option two 1-1/2 acre parcels of land in the Town of Ridgeway for $300,000 to build a recreation center. The $2.5 million funding for the project is part of the $99 million Dominion settlement with Fairfield County.

After two weeks of push back from Fairfield residents over the cost of the parcels, both Council Chairman Moses Bell and councilman Tim Roseborough made surprise announcements at separate community meetings on Saturday morning that they are now looking to build the recreation center and ball fields on a 30-acre site the county owns on Highway 21, south of Ridgeway at the intersection of Small Wood Road. The county recycling center is located in the lower right corner of the parcel.

This is a site Bell suggested for a recreation center during his campaign for office two and a half years ago, but the idea never materialized because of constituent push back against the location and a lack of funding.

Bell said plans are for the recreation area to sit on 4 to 5 acres of the property and will include covered courts, outdoor sports fields, meeting areas, exercise areas, a walking trail and possibly a library and police substation.  He shared poster boards with drawings.

During Roseborough’s meeting at St. Luke Baptist Church on St. Luke Baptist Church Road, on the western side of the county, a group of about 25 constituents attended and some expressed their angst that Roseborough had voted for recreation in Bell’s district but had not brought any to his own district. Rosborough responded that he was planning parks and walking trails in both Jenkinsville and Greenbrier.

Councilman Doug Pauley told The Voice that he and Councilmen Neil Robinson and Clarence Gilbert had not been informed of the new location of the recreation center nor of the two planned parks in Roseborough’s district.

Bell’s meeting in the Ridgeway Fire Department brought about 70 people. It had been billed as a town hall meeting for people to ask questions, but when attendee Tony Armstrong asked a question about the renovation of Mt. Zion, Bell said questions could only be asked about the presentations that would be made.

Those presentations included economic development with the County’s Director of Economic Development presenting; the Workforce Innovation & Opportunity Act program with Director of the program, Diana Robinson, presenting; Fairfield Behavioral Health with Executive Director Vernon Kennedy presenting and Midlands Technical College with President Dr. Ronald Rhames presenting.

Davenport highlighted the successes achieved in the previous three to four years and exposed the strategy for using funds from the $99 million settlement from Dominion Energy to upgrade Fairfield County’s ability to attract further industrial development by grading available sites to ready them for immediate development. He touched on the impact of the I-77 Megasite and surrounding interchange as a catalyst for statewide growth and a bonanza for Fairfield County citizens. 

Robinson shared information regarding the success achieved putting residents into jobs in recent years, but that success is falling off due to a number of factors including the pandemic.

“We have had only 894 visitors to our kiosk in the past 90 days” she explained.  “Prior to the pandemic we experienced over 6000 visitors. We have achieved a 98% success rate in our program to train truck drivers,” said Robinson, “with 11 people recently graduating the TDI program. We have successfully helped 64 participants find jobs in the March to June 30 time frame.”

A question from the audience asked what effect she anticipated the advance child tax credit payout would have on mother’s going to work.

“That’s a hard question to answer,” Robinson responded.

Kennedy emphasized the need for a full lifestyle approach for intervention to be successful and praised the unity demonstrated among the various Fairfield County Services and the individuals who administer them.  He encouraged residents to call Fairfield Behavioral Health on behalf of those in need of help.

A brochure was made available from the FCCOA, Fairfield County Council on Aging, Nutrition Service Programs for Fairfield County.

Rhames talked about the availability and opportunity that Midlands Technical College offers Fairfield County residents. He introduced MTC Financial Aid Director, Angela Williams, who spoke to the several financial pathways available to support residents’ efforts to achieve a degree. She highlighted the Promise Program that is now available to Fairfield County residents which will fully fund books, tuition, transportation, and the full cost of an MTC college education. 

A comment was made by Bell that the prior library in Ridgeway was a disappointment.  It was pointed out from an audience participant that the lack of availability to the former library was considered the major problem since it was only open for a few hours three days a week and not at all on weekends. 

Contact us: (803) 767-5711 | P.O. Box 675, Blythewood, SC 29016 | [email protected]