HOLLY HILL - Progress is being made in several key fronts in the town. it was reported during Holly Hill Town Council's February meeting.
Traffic on Old State Road returned to its normal pattern on Feb. 6, as workers completed the initial work of demolishing the Super 10 store that was damaged, along with two other stores, in a fire on Jan. 8, it was announced. With the danger of a structural collapse eliminated, officials made the decision to allow motorists to drive through the center of town, which had been closed to traffic since the blaze.
Officials said there will be additional spot road closures in the future as debris removal continues. The ultimate fate of the two other burned-out buildings has yet to be determined.
Council members also voted to transfer $200,000 from the town's infrastructure savings account to its wastewater treatment plant upgrade account for pending repairs on Gardener Boulevard. After exploring various options for several months, the town plans to tackle the project in two phases.
The first phase of the project will involve replacing the sewer line and repairing 162 feet of the roadway from the intersection of Gardner Boulevard and Old State Road north to a point adjacent to the House of Spirits store at 416 Gardner Blvd. Workers will excavate the street, remove the existing sewer line and restore the base with material that meets South Carolina Department of Transportation specifications. Work crews will then install a new sewer line and fill the remaining space with SCDOT-approved material before the department’s paving crew resurfaces the street.
The process should resolve the problem with sunken pavement along that portion of Gardner Boulevard. Holly Hill officials say they expect replacing the sewer line will also help resolve part of the problem of storm water infiltrating the sewer system, which increases the burden on the town’s water treatment facilities.
The money that will be used to pay for the project had been previously allocated for infrastructure improvement in Holly Hill, thanks to the efforts of Sen. John W. Matthews Jr. The second phase of the work will follow a similar pattern and extend the improvements from where the first phase is completed to the intersection of Gardner Boulevard and Peake Street. The second part of the project will take place at a future date when additional funding becomes available.
In a separate endeavor, Holly Hill is also in the process of applying for a grant through the U.S. Department of Agriculture to purchase a generator and two trucks for the water, sewer and sanitation department. Mayor William Johnson said he hopes the department will provide the bulk of the funding needed to acquire the equipment, minimizing expense to the town.
In other business, council voted to adopt the intergovernmental agreement regarding the Community Development Code and the Building Construction Code. The first reading of the measure passed late last year, and the code’s provisions were discussed at a public hearing in January. Adopting the agreement enables Holly Hill to take more responsibility for enforcing county regulations involving litter, derelict vehicles and other community concerns.
“As we move forward, the Holly Hill Police Department will have more direct responsibility for (enforcing the town’s litter ordinances),” Johnson said. “I think it’s an opportunity for us to clean up our town.”
The mayor also talked about the good turnout at two recent meetings about upcoming workforce training sessions. Representatives of Orangeburg-Calhoun Technical College informed job seekers that classroom training sessions would be held at Lake Marion High School and Technology Center to help area residents gain the skills needed to work in the manufacturing jobs coming to the area.
Johnson also provided an update on the status of the three buildings Holly Hill has available for rent. Anyone wishing to reserve the Dantzler Building at Gilmore Park, the Holly Hill Train Depot, or the recently completed building at Folk Park for a special event should contact town hall at 803- 496-3330.
Also during the meeting, it was reported that the Planning and Zoning Committee will resume work on reviewing and updating the town’s zoning ordinances. The effort to update the town’s website will also continue this month, it was noted.
Holly Hill Town Council's next regular meeting will be at 5:30 p.m. on Monday, March 5.