Thespain Hall has five-stage plan for renovation
by Lucas Vance Staff Writer
WINNSBORO — The town clock is currently under renovation, in order to restore one of Winnsboro’s most cherished buildings. Now, according to Mike Kelly the same is true about Thespian Hall.
“Other than the town clock; Thespian Hall is at the top of the list when it comes to treasured properties in Winnsboro,” Kelly stated.
Over the past three years, he has invested $65,000 to bring the building back up to par after being destroyed by fire.
“I didn’t buy Thespian Hall with my head I bought it with my heart,” Kelly noted. “I love that property and I love Winnsboro. With that said, I’d like to give back to the community and do what I can to restore Thespian Hall.”
Citing a five-stage plan to restore the building, Kelly said he is near obtaining a certificate to reopen the bar area—formerly known as The Tavern—in the 30-45 days.
In order to generate revenue to help the restoration along, Kelly said the next step would be renting out the apartment. He believes both projects should be completed within the year.
“The ultimate goal is to restore the building to its previous elegance and have the apartment as revenue builder,” Kelly said.
Later phases would include revitalizing the “Charleston Room” and make it into a public meeting facility.
“We need another meeting space in Winnsboro for profit and non-profit organizations,” Kelly noted.
He offered to meet with the town at anytime in the future to answer further questions, and assured council progress was being made.
“There is a plan in place and hopefully we can accelerate the process and keep moving forward,” Kelly stated.
Mayor Roger Gaddy thanked Kelly for attending the meeting and giving council an update concerning one of Winnsboro’s treasures.
“We appreciate your hard work and commitment,” Gaddy told Kelly. “Things never go as fast as you’d like them to, but the town will do all we can to support your efforts.”
Peddler’s license waived for reunion
Gail Floyd asked council to wave the peddler’s license fee for vendors during an upcoming Mt. Zion/Winnsboro High reunion.
On Nov. 9, there will be a high school reunion for the classes of 1959-1976. Floyd said they have received approval from the school board to use the gymnasium at Fairfield Middle School (formerly Winnsboro High).
Councilman Clyde Sanders made a motion to approve that request, stating council did the same for Floyd last year concerning a Winnsboro Mill Village reunion.
After receiving the approval of a waived license fee, Floyd thanked council and even invited them to the festivities.
“You all (Winnsboro Town Council) have been a great help through the years,” Floyd noted.
Use of water tank for radio antenna
Frank Weathersbee requested permission to install a radio antenna on the water tower near the old Mack truck plant.
The antenna would be installed, on the current tower, on the south side of the tank. A repeater station would also be placed in the small building at the base of the water tank.
Weathersbee noted that the equipment would not interfere with any equipment currently installed. However, if his equipment did cause interference he would have it repaired or removed to remedy the problem.
Weathersbee said the antenna and repeater system would be used to link the area with the South Carolina Emergency Management Department.
“Amateur radio operators will be able to provide better assistance to emergency responders,” he stated. “There are no amateur radio systems in this area and it would fill a badly needed void.”
Town manager Don Wood said the town would have to check with their legal counsel, but most likely, all participants would have to sign some sort of waiver before installing the antenna.
Council did not take any action and decided to table the discussion until a future meeting.
Building Inspector/Zoning Administrator Bill Castles requested $1,675 to install an overhead door on the bathhouse at the town pool. The request is included in the 2013-2014 budget under a capital expenditure request. The installation of the door will allow closing of the building at anytime and eliminate the use of plywood panels during the off-season. Castles request was approved during the town council meeting.
He also asked council to make an exception to the hiring freeze, so that he could replace an employee in the Streets and Sanitation Department. The employee gave notice he/she would be leaving on Aug. 29 to take a job doing asphalt work.
With originally 18 employees in the Streets and Sanitation Department, Castles is now doing the job with 13 employees.
“Although I am thankful for the rain it has been difficult keeping up with the growth of the grass,” Castles said.
The finance committee acknowledged he could hire people as long as it was maintaining the current level and just replacing an open position.
Comfort Inn compensation request
Due to a recent gap in water service, the Comfort Inn in Blythewood submitted a compensation request to receive credit.
“The hotel wasn’t real happy about that and understandably so,” Gaddy noted. “But in the contract we don’t guarantee service. We do what we can to get it turned on as quickly as we can.”
Wood said the town extended the hotel an invitation to attend the meeting to discuss the matter (which they did not attend), and that a letter has been sent stating they (Town of Winnsboro) were sorry for the inconvenience but denied compensation or credit for gap in service.
Recent Zoning amendment
A resident at 103 Frazier Street was given a special exception to open an in-home daycare. The area is zoned as residential, but through a unanimous vote at a board of appeals meeting, the resident was granted the special exception.
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