Cleanup of downtown Bamberg following last month’s fire that destroyed several buildings has been delayed, city council members were told at their April meeting.
Police Chief James Smoak said that from what he observed, there has been no progress on the cleanup.
“I spoke with Mr. (Steve) Leninski by phone about the cleanup downtown,” Smoak said.
A Vermont native, Leninski first came to Bamberg in 2005 and fell in love with the buildings downtown. He now owns a number of the buildings, several of which were destroyed in the blaze.
“Mr. Leninski has been out of town and is getting prepared to come back down here,” Smoak said. “I asked him if his crew was supposed to be cleaning up downtown, and he stated that they were.
“I was at the police academy all last week as a guest instructor, so I went downtown today to see what progress had been being done. It appears that nothing has been done.”
Mayor Nancy Foster confirmed that no work has been accomplished on the cleanup. Leninski is due back within the next day or two, she said.
In other police business, Councilwoman Robin Chavis, who serves as the department’s commissioner, said the town has hired one certified police officer, which means that he will not have to go through the academy for training. His start date is scheduled for April 2. After the hire, the police department has two more vacancies to be filled, she said.
Smoak reported that he spoke to a couple of residents about non-functioning vehicles that they have sitting in their yards. The residents were given 30 days to remove the vehicles, he said.
In other business:
• Foster swore in council members Willie Staley, Rosetta Draper and Leslie Hayes, who were recently re-elected to their seats.
• During the budget and finance report, City Clerk and Treasurer Bruce Watson said there was nothing new to report.
“The budget should be at 75 percent (of fund collected for the year), and it is at 79 percent due to once- or twice-a-year payments that come in. Other than that, everything looks good,” Watson said.
• In the insurance report, Staley stated that the city had received a refund from Workers’ Comp in the amount of $2,143 for fiscal year 2018.
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• In the fire department report, Draper had nothing to report. Fire Chief Timmie Taylor said that his department is still waiting on smoke detectors to be brought in for slated installations.
• In the licensing and Chamber of Commerce report, Hayes said there was nothing to report from licensing but a few things from the Chamber of Commerce side.
“Lights, Camera, Jazz Gala” will be held Saturday, April 27, in the Richard Carroll Elementary School cafeteria, he said. The event is hosted by the Bamberg-Ehrhardt High School Band Boosters. Individual tickets are $15.
The inaugural City of Bamberg Golf Tournament will be held Saturday, April 27, beginning at 9 a.m., at the Bamberg Sports and Recreation Club, formerly Paw Paw Country Club.
And the Denmark rabies clinic will be held Saturday, April 27, at the downtown Denmark gazebo.
• In the sanitation report, Councilwoman Bobbi Bunch said that the sanitation department has purchased some flowers to plant downtown on both sides south of Main Street.
• Under new business, Stephen Glover was reappointed to the Planning Commission for a four-year term ending in April 2023.
Foster appointed the July 4th celebration committee, with Bunch as chair, and Staley and Councilwoman Bridget Kinard as members. Foster also appointed the 2019-2020 budget committee, with Chavis as chair, and Hayes, Draper and herself as members.
• Foster reported on the downtown and Ness Sports Complex master plans.
“With the Ness Sports Complex master plan, we are going to try and do bigger and better things this year,” Foster said. “We’re going to try and have more tournaments here to try and bring in more money to our economy.”
The downtown master plan includes a couple of city blocks, she said.
“I think the county is willing to work with us, and they’ll be able to help us with some things. However at this point, it’s just in the planning stage,” she said.
Bunch added, “There are a lot of grants to be able to apply for, but you must submit a master plan when applying. They must see what the money is slated for.”
• Chavis said the town will have a pop-up farmers’ market Saturday mornings in May, June and July. It starts on May 4, and the hours will be from 8 a.m.-1 p.m. in the area next to Burger King. A variety of items will be offered, including fruits, vegetables, fresh eggs, art, plants and more. Growers interested in participating can contact city hall, she said.