Week of Nov. 19
to apply for grant for Saluda River Valley Trail
Local officials decided Tuesday they will send a notice of intent to apply for a State grant for the proposed Saluda River Valley Rail Trail (SRVT).
The proposed 20 mile Rail-to-Trail project includes constructing a trail system for biking, equestrian and hiking that could eventually connect seven municipalities in Anderson County and is cited as being an example for the state and the southeast.
A feasibility study task force committee of 12 persons met Tuesday in Williamston for an update on the proposed project.
The group approved the following mission statement of purpose: To build community support and assist in the technical aspects of a feasibility study for a potential 20-mile rail-trail conversion in Anderson County from Pelzer to Honea Path.
Information presented during the meeting included a review of the project which was first proposed in August of 2002.
The group also identified benefits of the SVRT including increasing non motorized transportation, increasing tourism, promoting a more active community, neighborhood connections and key open spaces.
Persons identified to use the trail include bikers, hikers, equestrians, health and fitness afficionados, wildlife watchers, community groups, seniors, schools and churches, scout troops and others.
Task force members will assist with the feasibility study, provide groundwork and offer guidance and input on the project.
Municipal Consultant Rusty Burns will act as the key contact locally on the project.
Yon Lambert of the Palmetto Conservation Foundation conducted the meeting.
The Palmetto Conservation Foundation was selected to provide basic groundwork on the project including identifying possible routes, conducting GPS reading of the possible rail route and checking ownership of property adjacent to the abandoned rail lines.
The preliminary review for the project shows a lot of potential, according to Lambert.
There is an extrordinary amount of potential out there, Lambert said. It is rare that you find long corridors still intact. It doesnt happen that way very often.
Lambert said that in most areas the track did come up, but some still exists. The proposed trail will follow the old or abandoned Seaboard Line (CSX) or Southern Line that ran through the area, according to Lambert.
Funding for the proposed project is available from a variety of sources.
According to Lambert, the project is already listed on the 2002 State Trails plan and is eligible for funding available through the $800,000 recreational trails program offered by SCPRT.
There is also funding for this type project from community and health foundations,transportation enhancement grants and USDA Conservation Reserve programs, Lambert said. Other possible sources of funding include private industry environmental grants, he said.
In addition to looking at inventory and GPS mapping which is in process, the task force will be sponsoring public meetings on the project in each town, designing trail standards, preparing grant applications, recommending long term funding and obtaining cost estimates.
Lambert said he would be meeting with railroad officials this week and would know more on the details concerning ownership of abandoned lines in the area after the meeting.
Lambert also said there has been a historic site inventory and endangered species check done on the corridor.
There are several historic sites, according to Lambert. There is also a threatened barnowl habitat located near the corridor, but not directly on it, he said.
Lambert suggested beginning the project in Honea Path and moving South to North as the best way to proceed.
The committee agreed that a letter of intent for grant application should be sent to the State by the Dec. 1 deadline. Honea Path mayor Earl Lollis Meyers will sign the document.
The project will include trails connecting Williamston, Pelzer, West Pelzer, Belton and Honea Path where it could connect with a current rail to trail system extending out of Greenwood.
A number of political representatives have voiced their support to help find grants and other funding for the project.
Supporters include Sen. Billy ODell, House Rep. Michael Thompson, County Council District 7 representative Cindy Wilson and Anderson County Council.
Partners for a Healthy Community has also shown interest in the project.
Burns said West Pelzer officials and Page Henderson of Pelzer were also supportive of the idea.
Belton Mayor Rufus Callahan, Honea Path Mayor Meyers, Williamston Mayor Phillip Clardy were also present for the meeting.
The Rails to Trails program is an organized group dedicated to enriching Americas communities and countryside by creating a nationwide network of public trails from former rail lines and connecting corridors.
The Palmetto Conservation Foundation is a non-profit organization focused on land conservation, historic preservation and recreation projects in South Caorliana.
The old rail bed, which runs from Greenville through Piedmont, Pelzer and West Pelzer, Williamston, Belton, Honea Path and on to Ware Shoals and Greenwood was abandoned in the 1980s.
Lambert said a multi purpose, multijurisdicitional trail system would probably be one of the first in the state.
The group plans to meet monthly at 4 p.m. on the third Tuesday. Meetings are currently being held at the Williamston Municipal Center.
Dan Rodgerson, Executive Director of the Greenville County Recreation District has offered assistance from the organization in meeting the recreational needs of the Piedmont area.
Rodgerson addressed the Board of Commissioners of the Piedmont Public Service District at their regular meeting Monday night.
He asked the board for input on the needs of the community and activities that they would like to have in the area which the county could provide.
Board Chairperson Marsha Rogers mentioned the possibility of acquiring the playground at Sue Cleveland Elementary School when the school closes. According to Rogers, without Woodmont Park there is no suitable place for children who live in Greenville County to play in the area.
Rodgerson said that the Recreation District had attempted to save Woodmont Park but was unable to do so. According to school authorities, demolition has already begun on the park in order to build the new elementary school.
Rodgerson mentioned that the district could offer sustainable programs at the Piedmont Community Building to help with the cost of operations of the building. He suggested a drop-off point or a site for summer camps which last about 8 weeks. The cost of the camps would be about $80 for two weeks according to Rodgerson.
Commissioner Al McAbee mentioned the fact that about 50 senior citizens walk at the Community Building around 7 a.m. every morning. He suggested considering adding programs to involve that group of citizens.
Rogers mentioned the dance classes which are currently being offered on a trial basis through the YMCA. Rodgerson emphasized that the Recreation District works well with the YMCA and other community groups and that the district is not in competition with the YMCA.
Rodgerson distributed information on fall programs that were offered through the Greenville County Recreation District to everyone present.
Rogers gave a report to the board on several recreation projects. She said that Anderson County would be removing the four dead trees at Pack Park at no cost to the district. The $5,000 the district recently received in grant money would be used to redo the grading on the bank and the infield according to Rogers.
Rogers also reported that she is most excited about the work that Gloria Morris of Foothills Alliance is doing with the National Heritage Corridor. Morris feels that the footbridge is probably the oldest existing footbridge in the United States and has tremendous historic significance.
According to Rogers, Morris is working with the Bonnes Amies, Pride in Piedmont, and Don Roper on ideas for the area. A formal meeting with officials in Ware Shoals, Pelzer, Williamston, and Belton will need to take place to proceed with any plans for areas along the Saluda River.
Rogers also reported that there has been no word from the governors office about the appointment of a new commissioner to fill the position left open by the death of Commissioner J. C. Turner.
She also reported on two issues from a recent commissioners meeting in Myrtle Beach. According to Rogers, there will soon be a vote to legally insure commissioners. She also reported on the rising cost of health insurance from the meeting and added that she felt the district had made a good decision in going with state insurance.
McAbee reported a total of 31 calls in October which included: 4 structure fires, 2 grass fires, 3 vehicle fires, 4 vehicle accidents, 17 medical calls, and 1 electrical call.
Michelle Anderson of Pride in Piedmont reported on plans for the Winter Fest and Christmas Craft Fair to be held on December 6. The craft fair is scheduled from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Community Building.
Anderson reported a good response from crafters and indicated that both gymnasiums should be filled with crafts. After the craft fair, plans include music from the Palmetto High School Chorus and the lighting of the decorations on Hotel Hill, she said.
Chief Administrator Butch Nichols recognized Sylvia Brown who will be retiring from the district in January.
Nichols then requested that the board go into executive session to vote on a recipient of the Cliff Brown Award, an award given annually to a firefighter by the commissioners.
Returning from executive session, the Board scheduled their next meeting for January 12 with no meeting to be held in December and adjourned.
Students and faculty at Sue Cleveland Elementary School in Piedmont can look forward to a brand new building in 2004.
Bryan Stark of Institutional Resources for Greenville County confirmed that Devere Construction has begun demolition of sports equipment and a ball field on the new school site in Woodmont Park adjacent to Woodmont Middle School.
Current plans are to have the school completed by August 2004 according to Stark.
A landmark in the Piedmont community, the school currently has 424 students in grades K5 through 5th Grade. The current site has 34 classrooms, a media center, and playground facilities.
According to School Trustee Roger Meek, the acreage at the schools present site was determined to be less than what is needed to support a new or renovated school.
Factors taken into consideration included the anticipated growth in the area, the physical location of the students, and the availability of land for a new site according to Meek.
Future plans for the current school facility have not been formally discussed with the Board of Trustees, Meek said.
School officials still need to evaluate the building and its location to determine if the district would have any future use for the location according to Meek.
If the district has no future need for the property, then the School Board would make it surplus property and offer it for sale. Officials anticipate a decision on the current property when the new school nears completion.
Piedmont Public Service District Board of Commissioners have mentioned the possibility of acquiring the playground at Sue Cleveland when the school closes.
According to Board Chairman Marsha Rogers, without Woodmont Park there is no suitable place for children who live in Greenville County to play.
Dan Rodgerson, Executive Director of the Greenville County Recreation District said that the Recreation District had attempted to save Woodmont Park but was unable to do so.
Anderson County residents will have another opportunity to appeal their property reassessments according to a third and final vote on an ordinance extending the appeals process at County Councils regular meeting Tuesday night.
Leading the opposition to the ordinance, Dr. Reggie Christopher of School District One cautioned the council that changing rules in the middle of the stream is not right.
Christopher said that the council has made reassessment their problem when the current situation is a systems problem. You cant solve that problem, Christopher told the council.
Having a burning passion for children and their education, he asked that the council amend the ordinance to protect the school districts and the 27,000 children and 3,585 employees that are being put at risk.
Christopher also explained that tax income is behind and that District One will be borrowing money to meet expenditures. Paying interest on borrowed money will cause taxes to increase next year, Christopher explained.
Dan Harvell of the Anderson County Taxpayers Association said he felt that the appeals extension could not create as big a problem as described since 80% of taxes must be paid by the due date even if the assessments are being appealed.
Council member Fred Tolly said he felt it would be tragic not to reopen the appeals process.
Council member Gracie Floyd who said she had originally supported opening the appeals process cautioned the council to be careful about the decision, Lets protect our kids, she countered.
A split vote supported the ordinance to reopen the reassessment appeals process. Council member Clint Wright and Floyd cast the only opposing votes.
During the time set aside for citizen comments, over 30 citizens offered comments on county issues to the stand-room-only crowd which filled the chambers for the third consecutive meeting.
Stay the course! was the message that came from many citizens who supported the council and its decisions. Many citizens added their signatures to a display outside council chambers in support of the county and its progress.
Cordes Seabrook said that County Administrator Joey Preston has changed the direction and complexion of management. Anderson County government is the best Ive ever seen it, said the retired businessman.
Dan McKinney cited improvements such as the Civic Center, the Library, and the Farmers Market which make the county a more and more attractive place to live but also added that he hoped the spending trend had reached a plateau.
Dont second-guess your decision; remember you have a backbone, offered businesswoman Dino Hicks.
The silent majority is out, added Ed Jean referring to the number of citizens who were present and offered support to the county.
In a presentation to the council, Council member Cindy Wilson questioned, Did Anderson County taxpayers receive fair market value for the Big Creek Landfill?
Wilson proposed that no proper bid process was conducted on the valuable asset and that $1.1 million was left on the table and cited information from Upstate Forever. Wilson added that she hoped the county could negotiate a better deal with the company (Allied Waste).
Preston responded that he didnt want to relive 1998 and that due diligence was performed on the decision at the time.
Wright recalled that a lower bid from Waste Management came in after the Allied Waste bid was accepted. Wright also recalled that Upstate Forever supported the countys decision at the time. Saying that it is easy to criticize something you werent a part of, Wright added that the county saved over $31 million at the time of the decision.
Wilson also proposed an ordinance requiring that a full-time in-house attorney be appointed by the council to reduce the cost of legal fees and conflicts of interest. Wilson proposed that the decision would save the county $700,000 to $3 million per year.
Long-term council members recalled having an in-house attorney in the past but that the county still used outside attorneys on certain issues.
Wilson also mentioned information that she was denied from the County Administrator due to attorney-client privilege.
Preston explained that the information Wilson requested is the property of the council as a corporate body. Preston said that he would release the information if directed by the council. Preston also added that the county had spent $342,000 defending appeals on the Beaverdam sewer project.
A subsequent 6-1 council vote defeated the ordinance. Wilson cast the only supporting vote for the proposal.
An ordinance proposed by Wilson to establish an advisory board composed of one appointee from each council district to review financial matters facing the council died for lack of a second from fellow council members.
The second reading of an ordinance proposed by Council member Larry Greer to require an annual inventory of all county assets valued in excess of $200 was defeated by a 4-3 vote. Greer, Wilson, and Wright supported the ordinance.
Greer admitted during the first reading that the ordinance was a result of an issue involving vehicle light bars taken out of service in the Sheriffs Department. According to Greer, he had been unable to get a satisfactory answer from the department about the status of the bars which were valued at about $500 each.
The Anderson County Planning Division will hold a community planning meeting Tuesday Nov. 25 from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. for residents of the Piercetown and White Plains Communities. The meeting will be held at Spearman Elementary School, 2001 Easley Highway (Hwy. 8) Piedmont.
The meeting is being held to gather input for the update of the Anderson County Comprehensive Plan and will focus on the future growth and development in the area, planning officials said.
For more information, call 260-4043. or email Steve Newton at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Additional information is also available at the Anderson County web site at www.andersoncountysc.org.
A coach from Anderson is facing public disorderly conduct charges after officers were dispatched to the football field at 803 N. Hamilton St. on Nov. 18.
Reports state officers were called after one of the coaches became agitated about a call a referee had made. Once officers arrived, the individual was escorted off the premises. Referees asked the officers to remain on the scene until the end of the game. The individual again went onto the field and started arguing with the referee and yelled profanities. Scottie Lee Elmore, 29, 204 Darnell Road, Anderson was placed under arrest for public disorderly conduct and transported to the Williamston Police department for booking. C. Sanders investigated.
Among other incidents investigated:
Nov. 11 - Terry Wayne Buchannan, 21, 108 Bigby St., Williamston, reported a rifle valued at $200 taken from his residence by a person claiming he was going to buy the firearm. Sgt. K. P. Evatt investigated.
Nov. 14 - Ledina Simpson Roberts, 34, 4205 Old Williamston Rd., Belton, was issued a summons for no proof of insurance, failure to register and improper vehicle tag after a 1991 Lumina was observed on Roberts Blvd. and Hamilton St.. P. D. Marter investigated.
Nov. 2 - Michael Evan Hughey, 20, 7 Adger St., Pelzer, was arrested for driving too fast for conditions, no helmet (under 21) and no motorcycle license after a 1999 Harley Davidson motorcycle was observed travelling at a high rate of speed in Mineral Spring Park. B. L. Wilson II investigated.
Nov. 4 - David Lee Lollis, 32, 106 Grey Rd., Belton, was arrested for driving under suspension after he entered a drivers license checkpoint on Greenville Dr. and School St., B. L. Wilson investigated.
Nov. 7 - Timothy Lyle Scripter, 36, 1798 Big Creek Rd., Belton, was arrested for open container after he entered a drivers license checkpoint at North Hamilton and Palmetto Middle School. B. L. Wilson investigated.
Nov. 16 - Reports state warrants were issued for Sieglinde Falk Bass, 66, 65 Centtury Circle Apt. 350 G Greenville, for driving under suspension and furnishing false informatin in connection with a traffic stop of a 1996 Corvette with Tennessee license plates. C. Sanders investigated.
A traffic stop in Williamston resulted in a high speed chase after a 1986 Chevrolet was observed on Longview Dr. According to reports, the driver of the vehicle attempted to ram a police vehicle, forcing the officer to place the vehicle into reverse and accelerate to keep from being hit.
The vehicle then proceeded on Gray Drive, Academy St. and Garren Road before turning onto an unnamed dirt road. Anderson County Sheriffs Deputies and a K9 unit were called to the scene. The driver of the vehicle had left the scene on foot by the time officers arrived.
A passenger in the vehicle refused to cooperate with officers in connection with the incident. Warrants are pending.
Alan Dwayne Kelly, 26, 425 Tripp St., Williamston, was arrested for driving under suspension, improper headlights, improper display of tag after a Chevrolet S-10 was observed on N. Hamilton with no tag displayed and one headlight out. B. L. Wilson investigated.
The new election for the mayor and four town council seats in Pelzer will not be scheduled until January or February according to recently released information from officials.
The Municipal Election Commission (MEC) called for a new election for the town after results of the November 4 election were overturned as a result of two protest hearings which challenged the election results due to irregularities in the election process.
The MEC has instructed Town Attorney Jimmy King to work with the governors office to order a new election.
King will furnish the governors legal staff with transcripts of the proceedings as well as copies of any evidence admitted from the hearings by Thanksgiving according to a spokesperson.
The information will be reviewed by the governors office and then cleared by the Department of Justice. The entire process may take up to 45 days to complete according to officials.
Unofficial election results showed that political newcomer Kenneth Davis received 19 votes while incumbent Page Henderson received 18 votes for the office of mayor.
Council results showed that incumbents Betty Edens and Steve McGregor along with Tony Riddle and write-in candidate Sandra Ragsdale received the most votes.
Henderson protested the election for mayor on the grounds that two individuals who lived outside the corporate town limits were allowed to cast ballots in the election.
Five citizens protested the town council election due to confusing instructions on the ballot as well as how write-in votes were counted.
Anderson County deputies investigated the following incidents:
Nov. 10 Smiths Autos, 3000 Hwy. 29 North, Belton, reported that someone entered a fenced area and stole various parts valued at $1,800 from a 1996 Lincoln Town Car. W. Cunningham investigated.
Nov. 9 Steven Lee Anders, 29, 1914 Big Creek Rd., Belton, reported that someone stole a mailbox and post valued at $65. D. O. Hill investigated.
Nov. 9 Raymond Lewis Crawford, Jr., 27, 6903B Hwy. 29 North, Pelzer, reported tools valued at $463 missing from his vehicle. R. K. Scogins investigated.
Nov. 9 Telisa Annette Pearson, 34, 207 Edmondston Ct., Piedmont, reported that someone cut a hole in a screen, entered a residence and stole $38,000 in cash. G. Diaz investigated.
Nov. 9 Jack S. Davis, 59, 1245 Davis Rd., Piedmont, reported that someone took $200 from his residence. N. Mitchell investigated.
Nov. 9 Athas Restaurant, 11005 Hwy. 81, Piedmont, reported that someone broke out a glass in a door, pried open a cash register and carried away $300 in cash. N. Mitchell investigated.
Nov. 8 Merca Do Hispano Market, 101 Chippewa Lane, Williamston, reported that two males entered the store with masks, guns, and gloves and demanded money. Store personnel emptied the cash drawer and gave it to the suspects who fled in a red car. F. Wooten investigated.
Nov. 8 William Fitzgerald Hall, 35, 106 Teal Dr., Easley, reported that someone broke a passenger window on his vehicle and took various items valued at $40. J. M. Durham investigated.
Nov. 7 AA Auto Rental, 101 Foster Rd., Williamston, reported that James William Murray, 4342 Old Williamston Rd., Belton, rented a 1995 Olds Cutlass valued at $3,900 and did not return it. T. A. Caron investigated.
Nov. 7 Tate Steel, 613 Hurricane Creek Rd., Piedmont, reported that someone stole miscellaneous tools valued at $3,680. A. Digirolamo investigated.
Nov. 6 Richard Paul Freeman, 45, 213 Harrogate Lane, Easley, reported that someone forced open a garage door and removed a DVD/VCR and guitar valued at $900. M. D. Campbell investigated.
Nov. 6 Jason B. Keeler, 28, 1700 Elrod Rd. Lot #7, Piedmont, reported that someone took a DVD player valued at $150 from his residence. D. M. Patten investigated.
Nov. 6 Blossom Propane, 4409 Earle E. Morris, Jr. Hwy., Easley, reported that someone broke the front glass door and removed six propane heaters valued at $1,415 from the showroom. J. R. Jones investigated.
Nov. 6 Midway Rentals, 1826 Welcome Rd., Williamston, reported that someone took appliances valued at $800 from a rental home. R. K. Scogins investigated.
Nov. 5 Samantha Still McNeely, 36, 109 Pine Rd., Easley, reported that someone stole a cluster ring valued at $30 from her home. D. B. Anderson investigated.
Nov. 5 Cathy Tallyen, 43, 15 Monroe Ct., Piedmont, reported that someone carried away a wallet and its contents valued at $60 while she was attending a school function at Wren High School. K. Fowler investigated.
Nov. 5 James Russell Blanton, 67, 100 Forest Glen Dr., Piedmont, reported that he sold a 2000 Nissan Pathfinder valued at $16,900. According to reports, the bank returned the buyers check due to insufficient funds and attempts to contact the buyer have been unsuccessful. D. B. Anderson investigated.
Nov. 4 Brian Strickland, 39, 1109 Pine View Drive, Easley, reported that someone went into his truck parked in his driveway and removed a wallet valued at $60. F. Wooten investigated.
Nov. 4 Marsh Bell Construction, P. O. Box 51190, Piedmont, reported that someone stole two refrigerators and a microwave valued at $1,130 from a construction site. J. W. Lindsey investigated.
Nov. 3 Sean Christopher Rigg, 31, 13 Transylvania St., Piedmont, reported that someone stole a 2002 Yamaha Kodiak ATV valued at $6,200 from his carport. G. Diaz investigated.
Nov. 3 Will Kelley, 73, 958 Johnson Rd., Easley, reported that someone stole two electric golf carts valued at $4,600 that he had parked in his front yard for sale. G. Diaz investigated.
Nov. 3 Boyd Travis Pearson, 35, 148 Plantation Dr., Easley, reported that someone took a Smith & Wesson bolt action rifle and a Husqvarna grass trimmer valued at $1,200 from his garage. M. B. Sloan investigated.
Nov. 3 Morgan Sheriff Builders, 1154 Saluda Dam Rd., Easley, reported that someone stole building materials and equipment valued at $500 from a job site. R. K. Scogins investigated.
Nov. 2 Bi-Lo, 3518 Earle E. Morris, Jr. Hwy., Greenville, reported that a customer was observed tearing barcodes off items and placing them in her purse. Kimberly M. Cruse, 33, 418 H. I. Taylor Rd., Williamston, was detained by store personnel, placed under arrest for shoplifting and transported to the Anderson County Detention Center. A. R. Hyslop investigated.
Nov. 1 Sara Diane Stacey, 53, 3333 Hwy. 29 North, Belton, reported that a TV and vacuum cleaner valued at $340 were missing from a rental apartment. A. R. Hyslop investigated.