WINNSBORO — The time for renovation is nearly upon downtown Winnsboro, because on Tuesday night Winnsboro Town Council approved the go ahead on a project that would restore the town’s landmark clock.
The architect working on behalf of the town recommended that Huss Inc. be hired to complete the market hall and clock tower stabilization project.
The renovations are being funded using a 50 percent matching grant. The project could have gotten the green light sooner, but April 2 is the town elections and since the clock is a polling place, the council did not want to disrupt the precinct.
As such, construction is slated to begin April 3.
In other business, 2012 Awards were presented to Mary Lynn Kinely, Citizen of the Year; Elizabeth Ann Mayes Harden, Volunteer of the Year; Abba’s Sweet Treats and Gift Boutique, Business of the Year; and to Sammie Robinson, Employee of the Year.
Second reading passed on changes to business licensing ordinance in the town. The changes would make the town policy come into compliance with the model business ordinance that is suggested by the S.C. Municipal Association. Though the reading was held, the changes did not cause a change in rates, so a public hearing was not needed. The second reading passed unanimously.
Another procedural change applies to Winnsboro Director of Public Safety, Chief Freddie Lorrick.
According to Mayor Roger Gaddy, it is council’s desire that Lorrick not have to come before the council each time he needs to replace a staff member so long as his staffing level does not increase. The motion passed unanimously. Prior to that motion, council also approved replacing a department of public safety worker who left WDP to take a job at the Fairfield County Detention Center.
In other business, Councilman Bill Haslett brought up the county purchasing the old skating rink building behind the Wal Mart, saying with its bays layout and square footage it would be ideal for a county governmental complex. There might be some community enrichment grant funding that could be used to buy the 30,000-square-foot facility.
Haslett acknowledged that the quarters at public safety currently leave a lot to be desired.
Lorrick confirmed that the roof leaks when it rains and that one town fire truck is stored at another location in town because there is not room at the station. Haslett is under the impression that the county will receive a reasonable price for the facility, which could be used to house town hall, public safety and as a community center.
Town Manager Don Wood said he felt it was an overpriced option when the town considered it once before and the seller was asking $700,000. He agreed that Haslett’s idea had potential and that he was willing to look into it again provided the sale price was more feasible.
The building could be split into 25-foot increments to create bays for vehicles and there is plenty of storage. The down side is that while the building is in the town limits, the creation of a town complex would move several of the offices off Congress Street and remove them from downtown at a time when some local leaders would like to see business and foot traffic increase, not decrease, in the downtown area.
Council also met for executive session for legal and contractual advice concerning the Red Clay Group, which in the past had entered into a contract with the town concerning the old Mt. Zion School. They also received contractual advice about a water service request. No action was taken once council returned to open session.