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Kershaw County Council approves partnership with Duke Energy to pave road

Posted: July 29, 2016 11:32 a.m.
Updated: July 29, 2016 11:32 a.m.

Kershaw County Council unanimously voted to approve a resolution for the county to spend $93,000 in partnership with Duke Energy to pave Tail Race Road, which is currently owned by the county.  Duke Energy will pay approximately 1 million dollars to pave the road.  

“This is a part of a larger project related to Duke Energy’s license with the dam, a project involving the installation of large equipment to capture fish then transporting them into the lake so the fish can reproduce.  This road must be improved in order to support the project. Duke’s desire is that the county partners with them so they can improve the road to a greater standard,” County Administrator Vic Carpenter said.

Duke Energy Catawba Wateree Project Manager Mark Oakely explained the Duke’s fish transport system that will require Tail Race Road to be paved.

“The device we are installing is a fish transport system to capture certain species of fish, haul them on this road and release them above the dam … When the fish are naturally going up the river to spawn, we will give them a little lift and put them in the reservoir. The goal is to create bigger fish populations,” Oakely said.

The county will be required to secure engineering roles while Duke Energy will be responsible for constructing the road and is considering improving current facilities on the road.

“Upon completion the county would own the road; the road would be constructed to state and county standards. Duke has indicated its willingness to consider further enhancing the boat landing with enhanced recreational facilities, educational facilities and bathroom facilities. Duke has discussed willingness to turn over operation and ownership of those facilities to the county sometime in the future,” Carpenter explained to council. 

During discussion on the resolution Kershaw County Councilman Bobby Gary asked Carpenter to clarify how much money Duke would invest into the project along with the cost of maintenance.

“They say it will be a county road so we will have to take care of that road. What I’m seeing is they are saying they will be installing large equipment to capture specific species of fish and once collected that heavy equipment is going back across that road to the dam. We will still have to maintain that road, so what will be our cost after the road is constructed and after they finish? What would be our cost of maintaining the road?” Gary said

Carpenter replied the cost for Duke would be approximately 1 million dollars to pave Tail Race road. He said he did not believe maintenance cost would be significant.

“The road should have a lifespan of approximately 20-30 years based on the usage. It’s not a heavily used road; it leads to a dead end at the river. There would be truck traffic but nothing of significance … (usage) would not be on a daily basis,” Carpenter said

 Council voted to approve the resolution.

Also during the meeting, Community Medical Clinic Director Susan Witkowski made a presentation to council about the work and mission of the Community Medical Clinic as a series of presentations associated with Kershaw Health. The CMC has numerous sites throughout the county.

“For 17 years through outreach, access and now a medical home we have served over 6,000 residents who live in Kershaw county … We have an active 1,1 00 case load,” Witkowski said.

Witkowski explained how some Kershaw County Residents need assistance in navigating the system to receive health care.

“If you don’t know where you are going, you don’t know how to get out of this maze,” she said. “We want to take care of the whole person -- create a pathway and close the loop so it looks more streamlined and people can get help.”

Witkowski also reiterated the Clinic’s mission provide medical care to all of Kershaw County’s population

“We are serving those who live in the gap, not just the uninsured but the underserved.”

At the end of the presentation Kershaw County Councilman Julian Burns expressed interest in a presentation being made to council about mental health care and education. Witkowski said she would be willing to arrange a presentation on the topic.

During public comments, three speakers approached council about improving the facilities at their respective communities.

Westfield community member William Vincent informed council that the recreational fields and facilities in Westfield were in poor condition and had issues such as dim lighting, overgrown grass and a clubhouse structure in very poor condition. He expressed to council the importance of being physically fit and of having facilities for exercise.

Knight Hill community member Mary Henry and Mae Francis Willis asked council about the completion of project for the Knight Hill community park.

“We were asking how we can get assistance from council in reference to getting projects completed to serve the Knights Hill community. We just wanted to bring it to the council to see if there was anything that could be done … the playground and swing sets are so old,” said Willis.

 “The swing sets were there before I left Camden and I left 40 years ago …we need to make our park look like a park. We have a lot of wheelchair bound people, they need handicap access. The kids need an area to play, we really need help. As far as getting capital we’ve tried our best … Anyway you can help us, get in touch with us we would greatly appreciate it,” Henry told council.

Burns requested to get their contact information and council discussed later in the meeting improving the facilities bought to its attention.

Also during public comments, Liz Horton thanked council for its support during her time as director at the Kershaw County Chamber of Commerce.

“I tendered my resignation last week … it is a wonderful opportunity but it is bittersweet,” Horton said. “I will be leaving behind a wonderful community and a lot of fantastic people. The Executive Committee has appointed Amy Kinard as interim director until the search committee finds a replacement- they will look diligently. I will be a champion for Kershaw County Well into the future.” 

During council briefings, council members expressed gratitude to Horton for her work in Kershaw County with the chamber.

“You bought the whole community together. You made it the Kershaw County Chamber,” Councilman Jimmy Jones said.

In other business, appointments were made to the Airport Commission, ATAX Committee and to the library board.

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