GREENWOOD — The Grace Street park project, which has been at the center of much debate in recent years, is beginning to take shape and a group of concerned citizens appeared at City Council’s work session Monday to make a presentation.
Billy Nicholson, president of the Greater Greenwood Parks and Trails Foundation, said his group wanted to present a “preliminary” master plan to council on developing the 54 acres previously known as the Commission of Public Works Waste Treatment Plant at the corner of Grace Street and the S.C. 72 bypass.
Nicholson said development of the plan has been an entirely volunteer effort. Once the group receives council’s endorsement, he said a public meeting would take place to get input from residents.
Architect Steve Dorn presented the plan to council and outlined the park’s features, which would include: retaining the existing upper pond with site improvements to enhance the shoreline, a natural stream with waterfalls, boulders and foot bridges, a small children playground and an adjacent larger child playground that would feature swings, monkey bars, slides, etc., a large fenced play and exercise area for unleashed dogs, covered shelters with restrooms for family, club and other group gatherings, outdoor fitness equipment, picnic areas, amphitheater, informal and formal botanical gardens, walking trails, hard-surfaced open plaza for food and beverage vendors, activities and seating and parking.
“It is intended to be a natural park,” Dorn told council.
No cost estimates for the project have yet been done, he said.
“How are you going to pay for it?” Council member Johnny Williams asked.
Nicholson said the group is looking at a number of grants, in addition to individual and corporate donations.
“We would love to have city or county funds, but we’re not counting on that,” he said.
Mayor Welborn Adams endorsed the group’s efforts. “I like the plan… A lot of people have asked me about the dog park.”
Nicholson said there would need to be some work done on trees on the property.
Council will officially consider the plan at its regular meeting at 5:30 p.m. next Monday, April 15.
In other business during the work session, City Manager Charlie Barrineau said Police Chief Gerald Brooks and Sheriff Tony Davis are proposing to create a third multijurisdictional task force.
The city and council already have two combined task forces, a SWAT Team and a Drug Enforcement Unit. Council will be asked to consider an agreement that will create a team expressly designed to deal with violent crime.
“Criminals don’t care who has jurisdiction,” Barrineau said. He said the violent crime team would allow the city and county to share information about violent crime cases.
In a related matter, Barrineau reminded council that between $80,000 and $90,000 in “new money” that will be used to hire police officers will require a budget amendment.
The “new money” will come about as a result of CPW no longer charging the city for a line that it has been previously charged for.
The gang investigator was hired from inside the department and the process for filling the vacated position is ongoing. “The greatest need right now is night time road officers,” Barrineau said. Finding candidates for the new positions will require between 60 and 90 days.
Assistant to the City Manager Julie Wilkie made a presentation concerning new “welcome” signs that will be replaced on four sides of the city. They will be located at Reynolds/Cokesbury (replacing a sign on the Laurens Highway), Maxwell/S.C. 225, S.C. 72 Bypass (near Countybank) and U.S. 25/Calhoun (near CVS). The signs have been redesigned and would be lighted and landscaped.