Cheraw Town Council members are considering extending the town’s curbside recycling program for one year to see if the community can be rallied to higher participation rates.
Recent news that the council was planning to nix the curbside recycling program prompted several residents to speak out. Sarah Ann Thompson, a Cheraw resident, and several others appeared before council asking the board not to cancel it.
“What if we did extend it for a year? Give Sarah Ann, and others, the opportunity to get more people to recycle, to get the community involved. What would it hurt?” asked Councilwoman Jacqueline Ellerbe-Shannon.
In recent weeks, Cheraw Town Administrator Mike Smith has presented the council with alternative solutions for Cheraw’s recycling program. Due to poor participation, Smith said the program has become too costly. Only 197 people in town are currently using the service.
Smith has suggested the town do away with curbside service and have a recycling station set up in its place.
Councilman Fred Harris said recycling is, “the right thing to do. We should try to something, to get behind it more.”
Smith reiterated the high cost of curbside service, citing the cost of fuel and maintenance alone on the truck each year at $18,243, plus labor at 20 hours a week.
“The only things that make us money are water and sewer,” said Harris. “Using that logic, we’d have to cancel a lot of things.”
Councilman John K. Melton said he would like to see the program get more participation, and Councilman Reid McBride agreed.
“I would be in favor of giving it another year,” said McBride.
“Let’s put it on the agenda,” said Mayor Andy Ingram. As Tuesday’s meeting was a briefing, no decisions will be made until the regular meeting June 10.
In other news, Melton announced that Robert Smalls School on Front Street, now owned by The Pathfinders and the Chesterfield Marlboro County Economic Opportunity Council Inc., has been named to the National Register of Historic Places.
Melton has asked council members to consider paying for an official sign to placed in front of the building. The cost of the sign is $1,920.
Cheraw historian Sarah Spruill spoke on behalf of the request to fund the historical marker for the Robert Smalls building.
“This is a great thing. I would love to see Robert Smalls have your support,” said Spruill.
The building is historically significant for several reasons. “First of all, it was built as an equalization school,” said Spruill.
The state of South Carolina built many schools between 1952 and 1955 that were intended to make black schools “equal” with white schools, said Spruill.
“Robert Smalls is one of only a handful that are left standing,” she said.
Spruill said the school’s architecture influenced the look of several other buildings in town, which sparked the historical committee’s interest as well.
There was a short discussion of the $300,000 grant the town just received from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Council members noted that one of the things in the application that helped tip the scale toward approval was that the town paid $28,000 for an environment study a few years ago. That study cleared the path for Ironwood Farms to purchase the property on ACL Avenue.
Along with the grant application, a list of 30 sites were included as brownfield areas in town.
“Who will prioritize that list?” asked Ingram.
“Ultimately, we do,” said Smith.
— Reach Staff Writer Karen Kissiah at 843-537-5261.