UNION COUNTY — The clean-up of the old Buffalo Mill site, the renovation of the old Sims School for community use, adequate water service and fire protection, the extension of water and sewer lines in the upper part of the county, and addressing the needs of low- to moderate-income neighborhoods are on the Union County Prioritized Community Needs list.
During its September meeting Tuesday evening at the Carlisle Town Hall, Union County Council reviewed and then voted unanimously to approve the Union County Prioritized Community Needs list for 2017-2018. The list is the end product of a process that began with a Needs Assessment Public Hearing on Thursday, Aug. 10. As a result of the hearing, the community needs affecting low- and moderate-income residents of Union County were identified and prioritized. Those priorities were on the list reviewed and approved at Tuesday’s meeting. They include:
1. Seek funds for the clean-up of the Buffalo Mill site and to revitalize the Buffalo Mill community.
2. A minimum of one new ambulance for EMS (at least two are needed).
3. Renovation of the old Sims School for use as a multi-use community center.
4. Seek implementation funding to address needs in low- and moderate-income neighborhoods to include water, sewer, and drainage work; demolition of dilapidated houses; housing needs; street improvements; and safety measures. This will include funding for needs as they were identified in the Ottaray Mill Village Study.
5. Continue to seek funding for the Lake Project and explore ways to have increased access to water.
6. Seeks funds for a planning grant to study water needs and fire stations throughout Union County. This would entail working with other water providers to identify areas that are experiencing difficulties with wells and adequate water supply. This would enable Union County to prioritize the water needs in order to implement means to provide adequate water service and fire protection.
7. Extension of water and sewer lines to serve the area on US 176 between the Belk Distribution Center and the Spartanburg County line and other area that are not currently being served.
8. Continue efforts to extend water and sewer lines and other infrastructure to site for potential businesses. This will enhance efforts for economic development and the creation of jobs for low- and moderate-income persons.
9. Protection of historic properties in order to enhance tourism opportunities. This should include the Buffalo Mill building, the Union County Community Hospital, and the Cross Keys House.
10. Promote activities that provide fair housing opportunities to all citizens.
In other business, council voted unanimously to approve a request from Union County Tax Assessor Jake Black that funding be allocated for the purchase of software for his office.
The funding for the purchase of the software will come from the county’s Contingency Fund. The allocation includes $8,573 for the purchase of the software, plus yearly maintenance fees.
In a related matter, council voted unanimously to approve Councilman Ralph Tucker’s appointment of Brenda Brittain to Tax Assessor’s Appeals Board.
Council also voted unanimously to approve a resolution clarifying the status of Linda Circle in the Buffalo Community.
The resolution states that Linda Circle “is indeed a private drive and is not now nor ever has been a public roadway which is part of the Union County road system.” It further states that as a result, Linda Circle “is under the control of the property owner(s) who currently hold title to the property upon which Linda Circle is located and that all maintenance, upkeep, and other expenses related to Linda Circle are the responsibility of said property owner(s).”
In what was it’s only divided vote of the night, council voted 5-1 to reject a request from the Union County Council on Aging for the donation of a vehicle.
The request was made by Union County Council on Aging Executive Director Timothy Black in a Wednesday, Sept. 6 letter to Union County Supervisor Frank Hart.
In his letter, Black pointed out that budget cuts have forced him to make sacrifices, both as an individual and on behalf of the Council on Aging. Black said that he had given the van used by the executive director to the seniors for transportation as it was newer and rode and drove better than the one they had been previously using. He said this, however, had forced him to use his own personal truck without reimbursement.
Black said that the Council on Aging’s vans seem to constantly be in the shop and he thanked Union County for helping get them back on the road. He said that the shop had informed him that the county has a 2001 Ford F150 that was used by the Animal Control Department until it got a new vehicle.
In light of this, Black asked that the county donate the F150 to the Council on Aging. He said this would eliminate the need for him to use his own truck and would help ease the burden of the budget cuts.
Black’s request was rejected, however, with only Councilman Tommie Hill voting to donate the F150.
From 1956-1970 this facility at 200 Sims Drive, Union, served as Sims High School. Then, from 1970-2009, it served as Sims Junior High School. It has been closed since 2009 and currently sits empty and unused, but that could change as its renovation for use as a multi-use community center is the number three priority of the Union County Prioritized Community Needs list approved by Union County Council this week.
Charles Warner can be reached at 864-762-4090.