Open area near I-26 on a frontage road will not become a visitor-attracting Nature Trail
No Millers Fork Project.
Trail dries up with Clinton City Council’s inaction; $99,000 grant is being returned to sender.
Susan Galloway of Clinton Canopy wants the City of Clinton to use $99,000 in state grant money for Millers Fork Trail. City Manager Bill Ed Cannon has rejected the money “in the interest of the public’s health and safety.”
Galloway addressed City Council during public comment on Monday. In 2016, the City received the grant money for the project from S.C. Parks, Recreation and Tourism. It has asked for three extensions for the project. The latest extension said Millers Fork Trail must be completed by Jan. 31. The City bid out the project, but never awarded the bid.
“You need to figure out how to move forward,” said Galloway. “You can’t vote if it is not on the agenda.”
The proposed trail was to run along Millers Fork Creek and underneath West Corporate Center Drive. It would cover 3/4 mile. The hiking trail along a picturesque stream would be the first in Clinton.
“Anytime trails are built, they prove to drive economic development,” said Galloway. “The City is trying to attract a hotel that could tie into the trail.”
Galloway said the City would lose its credibility with SC Parks, Recreation and Tourism if they don’t make a move after requesting three extensions.
“What happens at Millers Fork will impact applications in the foreseeable future,” she said.
The crowd attending the Council meeting applauded.
Cannon responded to Galloway after a 30-minute executive session.
“I’m not tooting my own horn, but I’m a professional engineer,” he said. “(Engineers) have a cannon of ethics and No. 1 is to protect the public health and safety. The property is not in the City. We have no jurisdictional authority to police it.
“We have too much on our plate. We don’t need another project outside the City limits.”
Leaving the meeting, Galloway responded.
“The property is contiguous with the City limits,” she said. “(Police and Fire) can respond outside the City limits and the County would take over when they arrive. Businesses will locate out there. It will eventually be annexed.”
Council listened to Galloway and Cannon, but made no vote to direct Cannon to proceed with Millers Fork.
Last month, Council approved a resolution in support of a Bike Path. It looks like that also is just a dream for the Laurens County Trails Association. South Carolina DOT said Broad Street was wide enough for bike lanes, but said the City needed a plan of action. Councilwoman Megan Walsh asked for a plan of action and said if Broad Street was not right to explore other streets for the bike path.
“We have very little parking downtown,” said Cannon. “Bike lanes and parking do not mix.”
Again, Council listened, but did not vote to direct Cannon to work on a bike path plan.
The Recreation Complex is the only recreation project moving forward in Clinton. Cannon said another public meeting would be held in 2-3 weeks.
“We’re close to the end,” he said.
Developer Wheeler & Wheeler looks to turn part of the former Industrial Supply Building into a new downtown Clinton Library. The cost would be $3,875,000.
Jeffrey Wheeler gave an update on the project and asked for Council to endorse the location. Again, Council listened, but took no action.
A contingency for the Library is the passage of a penny sales tax by the County. Historic tax credits are being sought.
PowerPoint slides were shown with proposed floor plans. Artwork of the outside and inside design was shown. Gavin Design Group is the project engineer.
The developer has asked CSX for a Quiet Zone. That would cost $500,000. Crossing bars would be added on Broad Street. CSX wants a private-public partnership for the Quiet Zone and has not committed to the project yet.
Wheeler said the new structure, which keeps historical elements of the existing building, would have a great economic impact for Clinton and meets the needs of multiple people.
“This could be fun,” he said. “It’s a great project.”
The developer will not move forward without the City’s endorsement of the location. Council members said this needs to happen, but no vote was taken.
Kay Addison with the Accommodations Tax Advisory Committee asked the City to consider the group’s recommendations. State accommodations taxes come from a 2 percent tax on hotel rooms (which generates about $80,000 per year for Clinton). The money must be used for tourism. Clinton has $341,148 in state accommodations tax surplus. Addison said the money can be lost if not awarded and that the money needed to be designated by November.
The committee’s recommendations:
Clinton Canopy asked for $1,000 and Committee recommends $1,000.
Scotts & Brats asked for $15,000 and Committee recommends $15,000.
Flight of the Dove asked for $25,000 and Committee recommends $25,000.
PC Baseball Lights asked for $130,000 and Committee recommends $50,000.
Welcome Center asked for $250,000 and Committee recommends $50,000.
Main Street Lights, no action taken by Committee.
Council took no action. Several council members were caught off guard by the presentation and the matter was tabled. Council asked Addison to get an extension on the November deadline.
In previous meetings, local accommodations tax money (which is different from state accommodations taxes with different guidelines) has been talked about as a source of funding for the Recreation Complex.
• Proclamations: October as Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Crime Prevention Month, Domestic Violence Awareness Month, Dyslexia Awareness Month and the first Friday in November as Arbor Day.
• First reading to suspend Blue Laws - done every 6 months
• First reading of ordinance codifying City Codes - will be done yearly and placed online for the public
• Second reading of ordinance regarding the disposition of land
No action was taken on a contractual matter relating to the sale and purchase of real property.