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West Wateree Playground set to break ground in August

Posted: July 30, 2015 4:43 p.m.
Updated: July 31, 2015 1:00 a.m.

The West Wateree Community Playground project has surpassed its fundraising goal and will break ground in late August. Playground Steering Committee Chair Laurey Carpenter made the announcement to Kershaw County Council during its meeting Tuesday evening. The state-of-the-art playground is being funded entirely with private donations and grants, with no tax money requested nor offered. Council voted last year to provide the space for the playground at the West Wateree Athletic Complex along U.S. 1 between Lugoff and Elgin.

“Our fundraising efforts of over $300,000 is complete, in a record nine months. We have over 280 businesses, corporations, organizations and individuals that have come together to make our first ever A.D.A. (Americans with Disabilities Act) accessible playground a reality,” Carpenter said. “We applied for five grants. Four of them were accepted. These grants totaled $122,500.”

Carpenter said a groundbreaking is scheduled at the playground site at 10 a.m. Aug. 29. Installation of the equipment will take place Sept. 15-17 and volunteers are needed to help. In case of rain, installation will be pushed back one week, Carpenter said. A rubberized surface will be installed in October to make the playground more safe and comfortable.

A ribbon cutting and official opening day for the playground is planned for Saturday, Nov. 14, if the weather cooperates with construction. Carpenter said the committee’s vision now extends beyond this one project and a foundation has been formed to make other projects a reality. The foundation is called “PLAY,” an acronym meaning a “Place of Learning for Active Youth.”

“With the help of a local attorney, Ben Connell, the PLAY Foundation is a reality. Eleven community members have looked at it and shared a vision that is our mission for improving the quality of life in Kershaw County while enhancing the physical and social development of our children,” Carpenter said. “We are in the process of completing our first project, but I want you to know it is not our last.”

Also Tuesday night, Kershaw County Planning and Zoning Department Director Carolyn Hammond outlined the process for crafting a vision plan for county growth during the next 15 years. As reported Monday, a series of public meetings is scheduled throughout the county over the next several months to get direct input from residents on concerns and priorities as the county grows. The first meeting took place Thursday evening.

“The comprehensive plan is a road map to the future. It’s a collection of information and the materials to guide the future of the county. It can provide the county with a firm foundation that will allow the county to function effectively and efficiently,” Hammond said. “It can strengthen the county’s land-use policies and legislation and provide a more certain future by providing a framework and policy context.”

In other business, council unanimously passed a resolution recognizing the efforts of Habitat for Humanity of Kershaw County in providing affordable housing for deserving families. The organization has been in Kershaw County since 1991 and has provided 38 homes, with more to come.

Another resolution closing two roads near Woodward Field passed unanimously. The road closures are a necessary part of a U.S. Federal Aviation Administration project to expand the safety zone around the airport’s runways. 

“Part of this program will require the closing of portions of Logan Road and Maggie Drive, one on each end of the airport runway. Those roads have been well known and well noticed and openly discussed for quite some time that they will be closed,” Kershaw County Administrator Vic Carpenter said. “The county owns the land that is affected on both sides of the rods and adequate alternative roads are available.”

Also:

• An ordinance regarding the formation of a joint industrial park with neighboring Chesterfield County unanimously passed second reading. Ordinances require three successful readings to become effective. County Attorney Ken Dubose said the ordinance simplifies the process if either county wishes to add new properties or businesses to the park.

• An ordinance officially certifying the tax millage rate for the current fiscal year passed 5-2. The rate was set during the council’s budget negotiations in June. Tuesday’s vote merely makes the rate official. Councilmen C.R. Miles and Jimmy Jones were opposed to the millage increase in June and voted no Tuesday as well.


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