A change of scenery has been taking shape along ACL Avenue and Cash Road, as collaborative efforts between the Town of Cheraw and South Carolina Central Railroad have begun to clean out ditches and trim back bushes. According to David Sides, director of Tourism and Leisure Services, this area, referred to as one of the town’s gateways, is “undergoing a transformation.”
“I’m just happy we’re seeing some clean up effort in the 4th District,” said Cheraw Town Councilwoman Jacqueline Ellerbe-Shannon, who has been a strong supporter of the project. “This has been one of my concerns for years,” she said. “I think we started working on this in 2007.” Ellerbe-Shannon has been a member of council since 2006.
“Scott Laney is now working with railroad representatives, and once some additional tracks are removed and grading is completed, our Parks & Grounds team will begin working to maintain this area,” said Cheraw Mayor Andy Ingram. The SC Central Railroad was “very receptive” to the removal of overgrown vegetation along ACL Avenue, said Ingram.
“Getting the railroad company to move has opened up the door for other possibilities,” said Cheraw Town Administrator Mike Smith. Next, the town will apply for grant money to conduct a feasibility study of the neighborhood. That study, which will involve residents in the area, said Smith, will then help with grant applications for actual improvements through the South Carolina Department of Commerce. There are at least two grants for which the town may qualify, that provide as much as $350,000 each, said Smith. Those grants would require only 10 percent in matching funds, Smith said.
Ellerbe-Shannon said she certainly hopes the town will have an opportunity to improve upon the upgrades already in place. “Perhaps we can eventually create walking trails,” she said, “or add other features that will beautify that area.”
Ingram said he is excited about this project, as well as the recent announcement of new business in the same neighborhood. Ironwood Farms is in the process of establishing its business, just off ACL Avenue, in the old Pyramid Screen Printers building.
“As a major gateway into Cheraw, it is important that this area projects a positive image to our visitors,” said Ingram. In response to other ideas for the neighborhood, Ingram said, “We have been in contact with the owner of Cheraw Sash & Door as well as the CSX officials regarding the old depot on Second Street.”
He did not elaborate on those ideas.
— Staff Writer Karen Kissiah can be reached by calling 843-537-5261, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.