UNION COUNTY — Tuesday evening was a busy time for Union County Council which approved a total of more than $2.4 million in expenditures for improvements to the Union County Stadium, Union County EMS Station, and Union County Jail; purchases related to economic development; a loan for the Monarch Fire Department; and to purchase a brick for the Union County Carnegie Library.
Council voted unanimously to appropriate $1.3 million from bond proceeds and authorize Union County Supervisor Frank Hart to enter into a contract with Monty Kingsmore as General Contractor for the Union County Stadium Improvement Project.
The project was announced in October by Hart following a meeting with the Union County Board of School Trustees. Hart said at the time that 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
Hart said Tuesday that the $1.3 million approved by council Tuesday is the amount the county and the Union County School District agreed to spend on the project. He said the district will reimburse the county half of the cost of the upgrades. In addition, Hart said the county is looking at other funding sources for additional improvements and upgrades.
Council also voted unanimously to appropriate $1.1 million from bond proceeds and authorize Hart to enter into a contract with the low bidder for the renovation of the EMS station.
Located at 1262 South Duncan Bypass, Union, the building that houses the station was acquired by the county in 2016 for $300,000. Prior to that, the county had been paying $4,000 a month or $48,000 a year to rent the facility since assuming responsibility for the EMS in 2015 following the acquisition of the Union Hospital District by the Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System.
As part of the agreement governing the acquisition, the county agreed to take control of the EMS while the SRHS took control of the rest of the district including Wallace Thomson Hospital — now called Union Medical Center — and Ellen Sagar Nursing Home — now Ellen Sagar Nursing Center — and Carolinas Health Associates.
The building was purchased by the county using a combination of proceeds from the sale of the old bus shop ($109,000) secured for the county by District 42 Rep. Mike Anthony and the rest of the Union County Legislative Delegation and from the Union County Multi-County Park Fund ($191,000) which is revenue generated by multi-county park agreements.”
At the time council approved the purchase of the 15,000 square-foot building, Hart said the county would begin considering its options for future renovations of the facility. He said the owner has already put a new, $60,000 metal roof on the building.
Hart said Friday that the renovation of the EMS station will involve fully remodeling the interior including the installation of new sleeping quarters for the staff who are on duty 24 hours a day; upgrading the bathrooms as well mechanical and electrical fixtures; and the installation of a back-up generator.
Council also voted unanimously to appropriate $419,634.90 from the county’s Economic Development Fund to cover the purchase of the Cudd Property along SC 18 in the Bonham Community.
The approximately 70-acre site, which is located across from the Gonvauto steel processing facility, was acquired by the county for the purpose of facilitating future industrial development.
While the property cost $419,634.90, Hart announced Tuesday that the county had received a $300,000 grant from the SC Department of Commerce. The grant will be used to reimburse the county for that much of the cost of purchasing the property leaving the county’s share of the price at $119,634.90.
Monarch Fire District
Council also voted unanimously to loan $20,000 to the Monarch Fire District for the up fit of a Cascade Equipment Trailer.
Hart said Friday that the loan is available if the Monarch Fire Board requests it.
Council also voted unanimously to authorize Hart to enter into an option to purchase the old Buffalo Mill property.
In the same motion, council appropriated $20,000 from the Capital Expenditures Account to help secure the option and to be applied toward the purchase of the property.
The clean-up of the old Buffalo Mill site is listed as number one on the Union County Prioritized Community Needs list approved by council in 2017. The list states that the county will seek to obtain funds to clean-up the property and revitalize the Buffalo Community.
Seized Funds Disposition Order
Council also voted unanimously to appropriate $17,229 from the Capital Expenditures Account to satisfy a Seized Funds Disposition Order.
Hart says the appropriation will be used to return funds as required by a court order.
Council also voted unanimously to appropriate an additional $3,152.789 from the Capital Expenditures Account and the Contingency Fund to cover expenditures related to security improvements made last year to the Union County Jail.
Hart said Friday that the county voted to make the improvements last year but that there were some additional costs involved and the funds approved Tuesday were to cover those costs.
Council also voted unanimously to appropriate $200 from the Contingency Fund to purchase an 8×8 brick from the Friends of the Union County Carnegie Library.
The brick will be part of the “Walkway of Honor” that will be built at the Union County Carnegie Library using bricks purchased by the public.
The Walkway of Honor is part of the restoration and expansion of the library and will be placed in a newly landscaped area in front of the restored front entrance to the library.
The funds raised through the sale of the bricks will help with the restoration and expansion of the library.
This brick sale is sponsored by the Friends of the Union County Carnegie Library, a 501(c) (3) organization under IRS guidelines and contributions may be tax deductible.
Persons wanting to purchase a brick should call call Rebecca Rochester, President of Friends of Union County Carnegie Library, at 864-466-6981 or www.unionlibrary.org to print the brick form.
In other business, council voted unanimously to appoint Robbie Poole to fill a vacant seat on the Kelly-Kelton Fire District Board.
Council also voted unanimously to approve first reading of the following bond ordinances:
• Bond for Kelly-Kelton Fire District
• Records Retention Policy
• Sale and conveyance of county-owned property to the Union/Laurens Commission on Higher Education.
• Accepting the devolution and transfer of the Union County Jail from the Sheriff’s Office to Union County Council.
Council voted unanimously to approve third and final reading of an Amendment to the Procurement Ordinance.
Council also voted unanimously to approve a Retainer Agreement to hire outside legal counsel.
Charles Warner can be reached at 864-762-4090.