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Rec Department back home after flooding

Posted: March 12, 2013 8:12 p.m.
Updated: March 13, 2013 5:00 a.m.

The Kershaw County Recreation Department (KCRD) is back under its own roof after a recent flooding issue as a result from rain and a malfunctioning toilet. KCRD staff moved to the Kershaw County Government Center for two weeks while repairs were made to damaged carpeting and floors; paint touchups and some furniture replacement took place as well.

“This is an example of what happens when you’re not able to maintain your buildings up to standard,” County Administrator Vic Carpenter said.

While the current facilities are not where they need to be, Carpenter said the cost of building new facilities can be pricy. Expenses in funding facilities similar to those in other counties such as Sumter, Florence and Rock Hill cost more than the county spends in an entire year’s budget, he said.

“I certainly think we need to do our best to maintain these buildings; it’s expensive to build new buildings but we certainly should maintain the ones that we have to the best of our abilities,” Carpenter said.

Councilman Stephen Smoak discussed the issue in terms of attracting people from outside the county to participate in tournaments and events in Kershaw County.

“Other places have been willing to invest in recreation and we haven’t,” Smoak said.

Carpenter agreed that Kershaw County’s facilities do not allow it to host anything of significant size or compete at the same level as other counties. Smoak said having a recreation department that isn’t up to par with other counties’ sends a poor message to citizens of Kershaw County.

“It just sends a horrible message to anyone who is interested in recreation when they come to sign either their child or themselves up for some program and they set foot in that building,” Smoak said. “It tells them that we just don’t care much about recreation.”

Carpenter said it’s no secret that the county’s recreation facilities are not in the condition that they need due to funding and budgeting going elsewhere.

“Maintenance in previous years has sometimes been cut back on (the Recreation Department) in order to have resources in other parts of the county,” he said.

While it would be costly to build new facilities for recreation, Smoak believes that the end result will be worth it.

“I view recreation as money well spent on the front end for our young people in that it’s a positive activity that gives them an outlook and some of these children if they’re not playing a sport and doing these things we will end up paying for it in the back end with law enforcement and other capacities,” Smoak said.

KCRD personnel did not return calls seeking comment for this story.

(The online version of this story has been updated to correct typographical errors found in the original print copy.)

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