Irmo ponders new town hall

By Al Dozier

Does Irmo need a new Town Hall?

The Irmo Town Council is considering the idea as staffing and office activity continue to increase.

“We’re busting at the seams,” Councilman Erik Sickinger said during Tuesday’s work session meeting.

“Purchasing land for a new town hall” was listed as a discussion agenda item at the meeting. Council members agreed to consider such a project as it contemplates future budgetary allocations.

The council also deliberated on how some $400,000 in American Rescue Plan funds should be distributed.
Previous funds have been allocated to businesses in the Irmo area and to non-profits.

But Councilman Kelly Busch said the council should not simply provide funds from organizations requesting more money.

“We need a game plan,” he said.

The council agreed to take a closer look at budgetary needs and address available funds accordingly.

The council received an update on the Rawls Creek Skate Park project which is now under development.

Marie Ryan, a chief sponsor of fund-raising efforts for the project, said an additional $140,000 is needed to complete the park, which is located on a nine-acre site in the Friarsgate area. Council members appeared receptive to the request.

The Town of Irmo is paying for the infrastructure of the entire park. This will include sidewalks, drainage, lighting, parking lot, bathrooms, and upkeep. This park will be accessible to over 3,000 children in the neighborhood.

The council held a discussion on the need for restriping roads in the town where yellow markings are fading. While most agreed such projects should be undertaken by the county or state, town officials say it’s often hard to obtain such services. The council agreed to make a list of the problem areas and submit requests to local elected officials.

The council also held a discussion on having Irmo join the National League of Cities Inclusive Entrepreneurship Network program, which provides local citizens and businesses with access information to a variety of technical informational sources.

Councilman Sickinger requested the council to consider restrictions on the locations of tobacco/vape shops in the town, especially if they are near schools. Town officials agreed to research the issue.

The council held a brief discussion on the now controversial plan to create a new “Main Street” area for the town. An input session on the plan held Sunday at Macedonia Baptist Church brought a lot of negative feedback from citizens who complained the town was forcing residents to give up property at the planned site for the area near the Community Park of Irmo.

Council members said residents are falsely assuming the town will force them to sell their property.

The council agreed to contact residents in the area and have a “round table” meeting with some council members in which their concerns could be addressed.

Council members appeared to be in agreement to reconsider the plans for the project in a way that will better suit local residents.