Downtown development, the Town swimming pool and the transfer of Blythewood customers to Columbia water were some of the topics discussed during the Winnsboro Town Council 2012-2013 budget work session Wednesday evening.
Due to the current Severe Drought Ordinance requiring conservation in Fairfield County, which disallows for water to be used for car washing and swimming pools, the Council discussed if it would be in the community’s best interest to open the Fortune Springs Park public pool in Winnsboro this summer.
“My personal opinion is that we don’t open the pool,” said Council member Clyde Sanders. “How can we justify opening it when we don’t let residents do it? We at least shouldn’t do it until we get the water for Blythewood.”
Winnsboro has worked out a contract with the City of Columbia to furnish water to Winnsboro’s water customers for an unspecified length of time. Winnsboro officials hope this action will enable Winnsboro’s water supply to rebuild and ease current drought conditions.
“We may not be able to fill up our individual pools, but perhaps we can fill up this one central pool,” Council member Danny Miller said. “It is good to have recreation for our children.”
“There’s just not a good answer,” said Mayor Roger Gaddy.
“We will get criticism either way,” Sanders said.
Gaddy asked Town Manager Don Wood when Blythewood will be hooked up to the Columbia water system.
“It is in the bidding process,” Wood said. “Jesse (Douglas, Winnsboro’s Gas, Water and Sewer Department Director) said that it will take 11 to 13 weeks. I asked Jesse to look into a temporary hook-up.”
“It is easier to justify filling the pool if we had the water we now send to Blythewood,” Gaddy said. “We can open the pool based on when that happens.”
The discussion then turned to the state of Winnsboro’s downtown.
“I was very sold on the Main Street Program,” said Council member Bill Haslett. “I went to their national meeting in Baltimore last month. I’m in favor of doing something downtown, but I’m not sure if the money given to the S.C. Main Street Program is a good idea. Don (Wood) said the Main Street Program would cost $20,000 to $25,000. We could have a 501 (c)(3) and have a volunteer organization. The Chamber of Commerce has a Community Development Corporation (CDC), but I’m a little hesitant to use that. I think we need to spend some money on downtown. We need to have a line item in the budget.”
“We need a group of merchants to form,” Gaddy said.
“And we can’t really clean up the town until the downtown ordinances are rewritten,” Sanders said.
Haslett then made a motion to put $5,000 in the Town’s upcoming budget for downtown development. The motion was unanimously approved.
The Town Council is scheduled to hold their first reading of the finalized budget June 5. A public hearing on the budget will take place June 19 at 6 p.m. before the second and final reading that evening.