Wednesday, January 30, 2013
All systems are still go for Moncks Corner’s rec complex.
In a pre-dawn special meeting Thursday, Moncks Corner Town Council unanimously approved and finalized the Phase One plan for its proposed regional recreation complex.
For Mayor Bill Peagler, good things come to those who wait.
“Nobody ever gets everything they want with a compromise but in this case I am extremely happy with the compromise we reached,” he said. “Now we have a direct plan of action regarding the recreation complex in that we can move forward and have something the town can be proud of.”
Construction of the $5.4 million dollar Phase One is under way. “Contracts have been awarded and construction has begun,” said Moncks Corner Town Administrator Marc Hehn.
Hehn said a planned completion date of the Phase One portion of the 52-acre complex, which includes four lighted baseball fields, paved parking, a concession stand/press box, event signs, paved access road, an irrigation system and walking trails, is anticipated by the coming fall.
“I am extremely pleased with the decisions council made this morning,” the mayor said.
Until this week, little had been done in regard to the rec center property since the town purchased the tract of land fronting Main Street and Hwy. 52 in 2010.
Other than clearing the land, keeping it mowed, and crushing the foundation rock left behind by the old Umphlett Lumber Company building, the 52-acre tract of land had sat untouched for more than two years.
“Some decisions about the recreation complex have to be made,” said Peagler at the start of the special town council meeting. “This is the culmination of where we’ve come to. We started out with the ambitious task of not raising taxes. At the end of the day it’s been a very rewarding endeavor as we have come so far. We now stand at the crossroads of where we go from here and the legacy we leave as a town council.”
Town council approved an $800,000 bridge loan through Santee Cooper to jumpstart the construction process that had fallen more than a year behind schedule. The town has two years before it has to figure out how to repay the loan, but by then the complex will be up and running and generating revenue from sports tournaments and tourism.
Attracting visitors to the downtown area of Moncks Corner has been Peagler’s primary goal since taking office as mayor in 2005. He said, “We have to ask, is the product we leave out there going to be something that brings people to town or is it going to be nothing more than a glorified playground? We have to spend money to make money. What we do here will show the town that we have confidence in our future going forward.”
Council pared down its original grocery list as to what would be included in the Phase One stage of construction. When the complex is completed a new recreation center, a farmer’s market, soccer and football fields, batting cages, and a youth “Miracle Field” are planned to be included in the park’s design.
Park and Recreation Director Ralph Jones said the new complex involved many more individuals than those present at the Thursday morning meeting. “This complex is the culmination of years of work by a lot of people, both past and present,” he said.
The mayor said the complex was critical to the town’s future growth.
“We want to do right by businesses in showing them we have confidence in the downtown area,” he said. “We’ve seen what facilities like these do in other areas and I feel strongly we can have a facility here that can do the same if it is council’s wish.”
Council unanimously approved proposed Phase I plan.