With several major projects in the works, Cheraw Mayor Andy Ingram said his first months back in office have “flown by.” Having served as mayor in years past, Ingram was elected again last November.
Ingram has compiled a list of activities, economic development progress and partnerships, awards and recognitions, anticipated projects and grants that have come to pass during his tenure to date. Those anticipated projects include the addition of an outdoor reading room at the Matheson Memorial Library on Huger Street, the purchase of the old Western Auto for a People’s or Farmer’s Market, the possible acquisition of additional land at Arrowhead Park, and support of the Chesterfield County Economic Alliance.
The town has committed $25,000 per year, for the next three years, from the annual budget for the library project, said Ingram. Friends of the Library are currently working on matching funds for that.
“I’m certain the outdoor reading room will be a big benefit to the library and the neighborhood,” said Cheraw Town Councilman Reid McBride.
As negotiations are not final in regards to the purchase of the old Western Auto, McBride would not comment on that project.
“I think our record is a good one,” McBride said. “We, as a council and Mayor, are a well oiled, and united machine. And that’s no reflection on the former mayor, Scott Hunter. He did a fine job.”
“We are blessed to be in such good financial shape,” McBride said. “The recession hit us hard. I’m grateful not to be worried, as so many municipalities are, about being able to make the payroll for our employees.”
Councilwoman Jacqueline Ellerbe-Shannon said she is happy with how council is addressing current issues. “Mike and David do a great job of going after grants,” said Shannon. Mike Smith is the town administrator and David Sides is the director of tourism.
“Of course, we all have certain issues we want to push,” said Ellerbe-Shannon, “but we work well together.” She also added that she was glad to see the beginning of efforts to clean up along the railway on Old Cash Road because “that is a gateway to town from Highway 52 and 9.”
“You will see a lot of progress has already been made. I commend the council, the administration, the department heads and the entire staff for pulling together to move Cheraw forward,” said Ingram.
Ingram encourages people to call him or members of council with suggestions, ideas or concerns. “We appreciate the opportunity to serve you,” said Ingram.
The following is a list of accomplishments, compiled by the mayor:
• Airport Open House
• Breakfast Club Fly-In at Airport
• All that Jazz Criterion Bike Race
• Largest 4th of July Celebration held
• Summer Music Series
• Art Walk About
• Music on the Lake at State Park
• Hosting several baseball tournaments
• Assisted in installing sand volleyball court at State Park
• Meeting to have a large holiday season celebration to be held in December
• Hosting FBI Academy Alumni Association
• Offered local incentives that helped Carolina Canners decide on a $23 million expansion in Cheraw.
• Ironwood Farms to purchase the old Pyramid Printing (Sacony) Building and put back into operation.
• Industrial Spec. Building is complete and up for sale. Marketing of this building is underway.
• Partnered in the Chesterfield County Economic Alliance.
• Cheraw was awarded the South Carolina Municipal Achievement Award for 2012 for our development of the Cell Phone Tour in the Historic District.
• The Town of Cheraw and several of our residents were featured in South Carolina Living Magazine. Cheraw was also featured in a segment of the Today Show.
• $15,000 Tourism Advertising Grant.
• $50,000 from the Department of Natural Resource for improvement to be done at the Riverside Park.
• $25,000 grant from Historic Preservation for Town Hall.
• $315,640 Community Development Block Grant for drainage improvements in low to moderate income areas in Cheraw.
• $730,764 in grants from the FAA and State Aeronautics Commission to design and construct the extension of the parallel taxiway at the Cheraw Airport.
• Total grant money received within last 7 months $1,136,404.
• Pledged $75,000 over a 3 year period to the Four Seasons Garden Club towards developing an Outdoor Reading Room at Matheson Library.
• Pledged $11,702 per year for the next 5 years to partner with the Chesterfield County Economic Alliance.
• To purchase old Western Auto property for public use at no more than $43,800 to develop a Peoples Market/Public Parking/Green Space.
• Town is moving forward to purchase land adjacent to Arrowhead Park for future park expansion.
• Partnered with Cheraw State Park for lake improvements by contributing $5,000.
• Sponsored Cheraw High School Band trip to Washington, D.C. to participate in the Memorial Day Parade by contributing $2,000.
• Town has set aside $10,000 this year toward a local Business Facade Program.
• Partnered with CHS on athletic sign board at entryways $480.
• The downtown Post Office closure has been put on hold by the U.S. Postal Service.
• Developing master plan for the Cheraw Complex Building.
• Working with S.C. Central Railroad to clean up railroad right-of-ways along A.C.L. Avenue and the truck route.
• River Hill Landscape Improvement Project will be begin this fall.
• Stripping parking spaces downtown and cross walks throughout.
• Begin mosquito spraying.
• Brasington Pond permitting to establish it as a water reservoir to be issued this month.
• Met with all local industries regarding needs and their future in Cheraw.
• Request to renovate old fire station into a museum.
• Moved gymnastic program to Cheraw Complex.
• Working on several clean-up, demolition and drainage projects around town.
• Partnered with Pee Dee High Speed Internet to provide antenna locations and in return the Town will receive free Internet service at all department locations.
• Mayor/Council and staff had a very successful planning session for 2012.
• Passed a $6,422,540 budget with no tax increase, no fee increase and no water/sewer increase.
• Provided cost of living raises of 3, 2 and 1 percent to all town employees.
• In the process of purchasing three new police vehicles, new street sweeper and new knuckleboom loader. These are a few capital purchases that are badly needed.
— Staff Writer Karen Kissiah can be reached by calling 843-537-5261, or by email at email@example.com.