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Melissa Brazell Emmons elected as Elgin mayor

Town to demolish tennis courts

Posted: February 5, 2015 3:59 p.m.
Updated: February 9, 2015 1:00 a.m.

Melissa Emmons is Elgin’s new mayor, elected Tuesday as part of elections for Elgin Town Council. Emmons, who most recently served as council’s mayor pro tem, received 107 votes while her opponent, Silas Silvers, received 40 votes. Former Elgin Mayor Brad Hanley received 105 votes, earning him a “regular” seat on council, and current council woman Candice “Candy” Silvers received 80 to be reelected. Silas Silvers, who also ran for a council seat, received 45 votes in that race.

Hanley, presiding as mayor one last time during council’s meeting Tuesday night, addressed the future of Elgin’s tennis courts. He said due to their condition, the courts cannot be repaired as hoped.

“The tennis courts are in disrepair. We were hoping we could repair them but they are too far gone,” Hanley said.

Hanley said Kershaw County Recreation Director Joe Eason and County Administrator Vic Carpenter referred him to Nick Henderson, with Kershaw County maintenance, about taking down the tennis court’s fencing.

“We thought we would take down the fencing -- the tall chain linked fencing -- and see if we could save that,” Hanley said.

Hanley said the county has agreed to help with the demolition of the court.

“They can start on demolition of the tennis courts within about four or five weeks; we can negotiate with them on that date. They will break up the concrete, haul it off, backfill it and smooth it out for us,” Hanley said.

He said the next step will be deciding how to use the site afterward.

“I think that will position us to do anything, whether that is a rebuilding of the tennis courts or (building) a park. If we were to think about not having (a proposed) community center at Potter (Community) Park, we could potentially put it on this site,” he said.

Hanley asked council for any suggestions.

“I put the word out on Facebook, asking for folks’ opinions and the one item that was mentioned numerous times was a community center or facility,” Emmons said.

Hanley said he was looking into a U.S. Department of Agriculture rural development grant, but added it appears Elgin’s average income is above the required levels.

“The issue is whether we could qualify because of the income requirements. The grant has a certain amount of low income so that the average income household in the serviced area is capped at approximately $33,700. Elgin’s is in the neighborhood of $55,000. We will need to work with the county to see if there are various programs that service needy families or lower income families,” Hanley said.

Hanley said he is also looking into another possible grant from the S.C. Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism he sent to other council members to review.

Silvers asked if the site for the tennis courts could be sold with proceeds funding a community center.

Hanley said it is a viable option, but wanted to consider keeping the property.

“If it makes sense and everybody agreed that’s what we wanted to do, we could do that, but you never know down the road what you might need. In fact, the only reason we have Potter Park today was because of Mayor (Paul) Groom’s foresight to buy that property when he had a chance … But it’s a good thought. We could look at the pros and cons,” Hanley said.

Council voted to pass a resolution to demolish the courts.

“If we can’t salvage it, I think it would be best to have it razed and to clear it,” Councilman Ed Smith said.

Also during the meeting:

• Silvers and Councilwoman Dana Sloan asked about the sale of the former Elgin Police Department headquarters. Hanley said the station was sold at bid and the deed was transferred to a new owner. Town Clerk Melony Clerk said the building is now being used as an office.

• There was one new business license for the month of January for Clarks Termite & Pest Control Inc. of Irmo.

• There was also one charity permit request for the Hydrocephalis Association to have a Bake & Hot Dog Sale on May 30 at the Elgin IGA.

• Managing Tax and Audit Consultant Rod Dooley presented council with the town’s financial report.

• Chief Brown announced Sgt. Rene Wilson had been promoted to Lieutenant.

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