Funds approved for new town hall

By Al Dozier

The Irmo Town Council Tuesday approved acceptance of a $500,000 state grant to help fund a new town hall.

More money might be coming.

Mayor Barry Walker Sr. said a request for a federal grant that could total as much as $1 million is now pending.

The proposed two-story building will be located next to the Irmo Fire Station, a short distance away from the current town center. It will accommodate all of the town’s personnel and include a large room for public gatherings that could accommodate as many as 400 people. Parking spaces would be available for as many as 60 vehicles. The new facility could also provide rental space for special events.

Walker said he was proud of the town’s efforts to approach state lawmakers who helped win the grants.

The council also approved a $354,400 contract with 5th Pocket Skateparks to design and build a skate park at Rawls Creek Park. The funds will come from Hospitality Tax funds. Skateparks were selected by a review committee.

The skatepark will be a concrete cast-in-place project located in the Friarsgate neighborhood. Skateboards will be provided free to those in need.

The plans for the park have been underway for a long time and have taken a lot of work, but council members said it is worth all of the effort. It will be a destination for young people, providing a public attraction for the Irmo community.

The council also approved a contract with Monument Warehouse, LLC, to design and build a First Responders Memorial not to exceed $105,000. This would be a memorial next to the police department to honor and recognize first responders.

“It’s been a lot of work,” said Councilman Bill Danielson.  “It’s going to be absolutely gorgeous.”

The stone structure memorial will be a focal point of tribute in a prominent public space adjacent to Irmo’s police department and fire station on Columbia Avenue.

The council gave final reading approval to an ordinance designed to improve community appearance in land development projects by providing for buffering, landscaping and tree protection.

The council gave first reading approval to an ordinance annexing a property located on Murraywood Court into the town limits. The annexation of the Lexington County property was requested by the residence owner.

The council voted to defer action on one ordinance with new regulations on electronic message signs, and another ordinance on removing residential units out of commercial zones. The council decided to give the ordinances further review at a workshop.

The council received a positive update on the Okra Strut Festival from Chairman Mike Ward, who described the opening parade as “phenomenal.”  There were more craft vendors than in the past. Parking availability was much better than in the past. Expenses of $123,994 were under revenues of $126,548.

Ward said he would like to see improvements in amusement rides and address complaints that too many people brought their dogs to the festival

The council heard a presentation from the League of Women Voters advising the public to learn more about their candidates by accessing the website

Friarsgate-Ballentine Animal Hospital was recognized as the Small Business of the Month.

Lisa Alberghini was recognized as Art of the Quarter.

The School Showcase featured the District 5 Foundation, which provides a variety of services and grants to school programs throughout the district.

New in-town businesses recognized were: Blue Heron Wellness, 10415 Broad River Road; Max Living Chiropractic Northwest, LLC., 7735 Broad River Road; Palmetto Ophthalmology Associates, 101 Park Drive.

Community Connections announcements outlined upcoming events, including the Escolares Pathway Information Meeting, Domestic Violence Awareness Walk, Vetters are Forever Club Car Show and Cookout, McGregor Presbyterian Community Senior Workshops and various Halloween events.

The council adopted a proclamation recognizing Hispanic Heritage Month, and another recognizing Hush No More Against Domestic Violence.