Irmo ponders use of rescue funds

By Al Dozier

On November 1 the Irmo Town Council discussed options on the use of $2.5 million in American Rescue Plan ACT (ARPA) funds that are now available to the town.

More improvements at the Community Park of Irmo were at the top of the list. They included: increasing the seating capacity at the entertainment stage; expanding the amphitheater; improving lighting and sound; fence the park.

Mayor Barry Walker Sr. discussed the possibility of funding a new town hall. Updating the computer system in the town’s court offices was also cited as a need.

While road improvements could be considered, council members said the town should wait and see the outcome of the Lexington County penny sales tax, which would include road improvements throughout the Irmo area if approved by voters.

Town Administrator Courtney Dennis said boosting the town’s budget reserves would also be a positive use of the money.

The $2.5 million is the second payment the town has received from ARPA. The first grant also totaled about $2.5 million.

Walker said the town is making good use of the money.

“We’re in good shape,” he said.

In other action, at the council workshop, Councilwoman Barb Waldman provided the council with an update on a recent meeting of the Harbison Community Association. Concerns were voiced at the meeting about homeless people who are sometimes seen “panhandling” in the area.

Waldman said there was also concern that the Harbison area may have “too many” new car wash businesses.

The town heard a presentation from S.C. Kings Foundation on the Next Level Sports Center, a non-profit which has received $100,000 in grant money from Irmo. The foundation is currently running behind schedule on the project but is making progress with cooperative efforts with several different organizations.

The mission of the SC Kings Foundation is to establish state-of-the-art facilities that host sports events, community and civic engagement initiatives, mentoring activities, educational programs and empowerment training. The sports center will be located in the Irmo area.

The council also discussed a plan for a new town flag for Irmo, which is now in the design stage.