Mayor Barry Walker told the town council at their workshop on Tuesday, Oct. 5 that the Broad River Road lane widening project is back on thanks to negotiations with Richland County Council. The widening will create 5 lanes from Royal Tower Rd. to the fork at Broad River and Dutch Fork Rd. near Ballentine. Originally planned by Richland County it was defunded due to problems with the penny tax. Mayor Walker said that after talks with Richland County they decided to rescope the 39.7 million dollar project which is scheduled to begin in 18 months. Once completed it will alleviate traffic problems along the route.
Town Attorney Jake Moore told the council that there was progress in acquiring property adjoining the Community Park of Irmo. Roughly 6 acres are available and would be a great benefit to the park serving as additional parking.
Councilman Eric Sickinger wanted to know if there was a better way to manage C-Funds. “There are sections of roads in Irmo in great need of serious repair,” said Sickinger. The C-Fund Program is a long-established partnership between the South Carolina Department of Transportation (SCDOT) and the forty-six counties in the state. It funds improvements of state roads, county roads, city streets, and other local transportation projects.
Town Administrator Courtney Dennis suggested that since the town is in two different counties it creates a challenge in not only obtaining the funds but actually applying for them. “Richland County pays out by projects that need to be submitted whereas Lexington County awards a set amount,” Dennis explained.
Councilman Sickinger asked, “What do we need to do to get started” for improvements to Moseley Road. The idea is to create an alternative traffic route to Lake Murray Blvd. that would enhance the development of a ‘downtown’ atmosphere. “This is something that’s going to be really really nice,” commented Councilman Bill Danielson.
Town Administrator Courtney Dennis told the council, “We’re already in the process of doing the same sort of planning with the Rawls Creek Park project.”
A long discussion ensued on how the 2.5 million in ARPA funds can be distributed. The town is slated to receive 2.5 million dollars this year and the same amount a year from now. “I just want to make sure we’re all pulling in the same direction on this,” said Councilman Bill Danielson. Danielson researched the spending of ARPA funds across the country and said the number one expense was to lost revenue. Cities are investing in public health, sewer and water, non-profits and small businesses. “All this money is subject to terms and conditions,” said Town Administrator Dennis. “We have plenty of time to watch how other municipalities handle this so there is no need to be the trailblazer.” Danielson was concerned that not enough of the funds would find their way to helping individual households.
The council agreed to continue discussions in the next workshop.
Councilwoman Kathy Condom proposed a holiday bonus raise for this year for town employees. “These people worked through this pandemic and never faltered,” said Condom. “They earned it.” Condom wants the bonus to be $1500 to employees which includes the police department. “I’d like the town attorney and town judge to receive that also,” said Mayor Barry Walker.