Irmo approves park land purchase

By Al Dozier

The Irmo Town Council Tuesday gave unanimous final approval to the purchase on nearly 10 acres of land adjacent to the Community Park, nearly doubling the size of the popular site on Eastview Drive

It didn’t come cheap. The purchase price was $450,000, plus $5,000 in closing costs.

The additional land would provide for more parking, athletic areas and additional uses for a park that is already very popular.

Final approval came after a 30-day “due diligence” process involving various details of the property such as liens and title-work, and property inspections.

Availability of funds recently allocated to Irmo through the American Rescue Plan will help pay for the project. The town is due to receive more than $4 million from the federal program providing assistance to aid communities impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.

Dedicated in May 2014, the park occupies a predominantly wooded site and has a paved trail, playgrounds, a grassy area, a picnic shelter, and restrooms. It’s the home of the Okra Strut Festival.

Council members acknowledged it was a costly purchase but considered it a “good investment.”

Councilman Bill Danielson described the purchase as a “game-changer” for the town of Irmo.

Town Attorney Jake Moore, who helped negotiate the sale, said it took a long time to get the property owner to finally sell the property.

“I’m really excited about what we did,” he said.

In other action, two newly elected council members, Bill Danielson and Barb Waldman, were sworn in. Danielson was elected Mayor Pro-Tem.

The council reappointed Renee Caviness as Municipal Clerk and re-appointed the law firm of Moore Bradley Myers for the town’s legal services.

During an executive session, the council agreed to a change in legal services that would free up the town’s regular attorney, Jake Moore, to take on legal tasks other than those arising in regular council meetings.

An official announcement has not been made, but Attorney Will Edwards was in attendance at Tuesday’s meeting and is the likely appointment for the regular council meeting.

In other action, the council gave the first reading to an ordinance to annex 7.7 acres in Richland County on Salem church Road near Muskrat Run. This property is contiguous to property currently owned by the town of Irmo.

The council approved a memorandum of understanding between the town and Grace Outdoor Advertising for the use of a digital sign located at 1150 Lake Murray Blvd.

The council approved appointments of John Lindower and Kimberly Snipes to the Okra Strut Commission.

The council also approved the appointments of Kalyan Monroe and Scott Moseley to the Irmo Future Growth Corporation. Mayor Barry Walker recommended the appointment of Marcia Clark for a third vacancy, but the council decided to await final recommendations from the Irmo Future Growth Commission

The council approved a resolution providing a program fee for the Municipal Association’s Retail Recruitment Program. The town plans to enroll Mia Wilkins, the town’s economic development and communications director, in the program.

The council held a brief discussion on using goats to eat vegetation as a clean-up measure for the town’s retention ponds. But council members decided to have that issue reviewed by a committee of local municipalities scheduled to hold meetings on environmental issues.

The council recognized Zaxby’s, a restaurant business that has served Irmo for the past 21 years. As the December Small Business of the Month.

New in-town businesses recognized during the meeting were Irmo Storage, LLC, 7949 Broad River Road, and The Right Touch Landscaping, 597 Compass Rose Way.