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Orangeburg City Council has agreed to hire a company to build its North Road recreational complex.

The city hopes to break ground on construction in 30 days, Orangeburg City Administrator John Yow said.

Peak, S.C.-based Edcon Inc. was given the $15.1 million contract to serve as the project's general contractor during council’s meeting last week.

The complex will be built behind the Orangeburg Preparatory Schools upper campus.

It will include two clusters of baseball and softball fields, restrooms, concession stands, press boxes and meeting rooms.

There will also be walking and biking trails, picnic tables, playground equipment, open green space, as well as about 500 parking spaces.

The fields could be ready for play within a year after construction begins.

About 80 acres have been cleared for the project between the North Road Walmart and Medway Drive.

A road has been built from North Road to the future ball fields, providing two exits and two entrances.

The road project was developed through a partnership with Fort Motte Partners LLC, a company of Century 21 The Moore Group, and C.F. Evans Construction Company. Fort Motte donated about five acres to the city to allow for additional amenities and parking.

The Orangeburg Department of Public Utilities is also assisting with the recreational park project.

“It’s a great opportunity for all of us,” Councilwoman Liz Zimmerman Keitt said.

About $12 million has been allocated toward the project from the first three rounds of Orangeburg County’s capital projects sales tax. An additional $200,000 from the fourth round will be used for the complex and traffic control.

The complex will also likely be funded through the city's hospitality and accommodations tax.

The city will need to borrow about $4 million. Yow recommended that council consider refinancing some of the city’s existing bonds to generate the funds.

Construction was initially set to begin around the middle of 2006, but was put on hold because of the economic downturn. The target date was pushed into 2009 or possibly 2010.

By September 2016, the property remained untouched. Then that all changed.

In order to maintain the uniqueness of the property, the magnolia trees were preserved. The name of the property is Magnolia Village.

In other business:

• Council unanimously gave second reading to an ordinance adopting changes to the comprehensive plan and land use plan for the city.

Prior to the second reading, a public hearing was held.

Two sections were added to the plan. One is a new section called “Character Areas,” which identifies areas in the city with the potential to grow and evolve.

A second addition is a section called “Priority Investments,” which provides a road map for improvements and capital investments.

There are no changes to zoning or land uses.

• Council entered into executive session to discuss a legal matter related to the stop work order placed on Edisto River Creamery owner Tommy Daras, who wanted to build a “freedom wall.”

Daras has filed an appeal in the case, which deals with his ongoing dispute with the Sons of Confederate Veterans Rivers Bridge Camp 842.

The SCV has a Confederate flag near Daras’ restaurant. He wants it gone.

• Council approved paying $174,354 to Yamaha Golf-Car Company for 60 golf carts. The golf carts will be stationed at the Hillcrest Golf Course.

• Council accepted transformer bids for substation 1 and substation 12. Substation 1 is located at the intersection of Bull Street and Windsor Street and substation 12 is located at Holly Street and Berry Street.

• Council read a resolution and recognized Orangeburg Department of Public Safety Sgt. Bobby Rivers on his retirement. Rivers retired Oct. 13.

• Council proclaimed November's character trait is gratitude.

• Council entered into executive session to discuss a contractual matter related to Orangeburg Department of Public Utilities’ power supply agreement.

Contact the writer: mbrown@timesanddemocrat.com or 803-533-5545. Follow on Twitter: @MRBrownTandD.

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Crime Reporter

Martha Rose Brown covers crime and other topics. The South Carolina native has been a journalist for the past 15 years.

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