UNION COUNTY — The ongoing effort to promote economic growth in Union County got a boost this week with the announcement that the county has been approved for a $300,000 grant to be used to purchase property for industrial development.
During a joint meeting of Union County Council and the Jonesville Town Council Tuesday evening, Union County Supervisor Frank Hart announced that the county had been approved for a $300,000 grant. Hart said that the grant will be used to purchase property the county is in the process of acquiring in support of its efforts to promote industrial development. He said the grant will cover 75 percent of the cost of the property.
Hart’s announcement came on the heels of county council voting unanimously to approve second reading of an ordinance authorizing the purchase of that property. While the ordinance authorizes the appropriation of the funds necessary to purchase the property, it does not state the location of the property, the identity of its current owners, its cost, and what, once it has been acquired, the county will do with it.
County council approved first reading of the ordinance in October and at the time Hart was asked about the property’s location, cost, and the identity of its current owners. He declined, however, to provide that information as the process of negotiation and acquisition was still under way. When asked about what the county would do with the property, Hart would only say its acquisition is part of ongoing efforts to promote economic development in Union County. As for what form that would take, Hart would only say it would be in support of industrial development.
Hart did, however, said that before third and final reading of the ordinance all that information would be revealed.
Almost a quarter a million dollar is being allocated by Union County to purchase some used patrol cars for the Union County Sheriff’s Office, help the Jonesville Fire Department purchase a fire truck, pay for a fill-in dispatcher at 911, and provide medical services at the Union County Jail.
In other business, Hart announced that the Union County Stadium Commission had received proposals from three companies concerning the $1.3 million Union County Stadium improvement project.
Hart said that in response to the three proposals, the Stadium Commission was assembling a committee to review the proposals and make recommendations on which one should be accepted. He said the committee would be made up of two representatives from the Union County Board of School Trustees and two from Union County Council as well as members of the Union County Fair Board and the Stadium Commission.
The $1.3 million project was announced by Hart in October following a meeting the School Board. Hart said the project would include improvements in three especially crucial areas with the improvements made in the following order based on the most pressing needs of the stadium:
• Addressing safety issues.
• Addressing accessibility issues to bring the stadium closer into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
• Construction of a field house.
The stadium was built in the 1960s and a recent engineering study reached the following conclusions about the facility:
• It does not comply with all aspects of the current 2006 IBC Code.
• It does not comply with the Americans for Disability Act or current ANSI regulations.
• Construction types required for the Department of Education does not comply in all buildings.
• Restroom facilities currently on site do not meet the fixture counts required by the Department of Education for a stadium facility.
• As stated in the structural evaluation additional testing needs to be conducted on the home bleachers to assure the foundation supporting of the double tee bleachers has no structural issues due to water collection under the stands.
The report also states that the stands on the south end of the baseball field are not safe for spectator use and need to be demolished.
It also states that, were the following repairs/upgrades to be made it could extend the life of the facility another 10-15 years while also bringing it into compliance with South Carolina Department of Education standards. Those repairs/upgrades and their costs include:
• New concession and toilet facilities — $550,000
• ADA issue of accessibility — $325,000
• Electrical issues — $150,000
• Site issues — $225,000
• Remaining building issues — $300,000
Total cost — $1,550,000
In other business, council voted to approve the following funding requests.
Council approved a request from Sheriff David Taylor he be allowed to purchase five used patrol cars for his office. In approving Taylor’s request, council authorized him to spend up to $55,000 to purchase the vehicles. The vehicles will be paid for with county capital funds.
Council also approved a request from Taylor that the contract for providing medical services at the Union County Jail to Southern Health Partners for $158,292. Under the terms of the contract, the nurse currently providing medical care at the jail would continue doing but as an employee of Southern Health Partners.
Council approved a plan presented by Taylor to address the issue of overtime in his department. The plan would involve organizational changes including having a clerk already employed by his office to serve as a fill-in dispatcher at 911. Bringing the clerk’s salary up to that of dispatcher requires the allocation of $4,100 which will come from the county’s contingency fund.
Council also heard and approved a request from Jonesville Fire Chief DJ Long for a loan from the county to help his department purchase a new fire truck. Council authorized the county to loan the department up to $28,500 and directed Supervisor Frank Hart to finalize a repayment plan.
Charles Warner can be reached at 864-762-4090.