Never Mind All the Work – We Don’t Want It

Clinton residents pushing for a long-planned trail were finally given a firm “no” last night and a $99,000 grant for the trail is to be unclaimed by the city. During the Public Comment portion of last night’s October City Council Meeting, Clinton resident Susan Galloway addressed council about the trail along Millers Fork Creek and the grant that the city was awarded by the South Carolina Parks Recreation and Tourism Department to construct it. She reminded council that she spoke to them in April of this year about the trail, noting that a SCPRT grant awarded to build the trail was soon to expire, even after they had been granted two deadline extensions. She told council that after that April meeting, she had worked with Joey Meadors, Director of the Department of Public Works and Utilities, to seek a rare third extension for the grant. She said they assured SCPRT that the extension was at the request of the City Manager. They were successful and the grant deadline was extended until January 31st.

Mrs. Galloway last evening said that she was surprised to learn that there was no mention of the Millers Fork project on the agenda for last night’s October meeting. She reminded council that the city’s reputation with SC Parks Recreation and Tourism will suffer if this extended deadline is passed without action to complete the work.

The $99,000 state grant requires a 20% match from the city, but Ms. Galloway pointed out that the work already completed is more than enough of “in kind” contribution to satisfy the grant, so there would be no further cash outlay from the city necessary. She urged council to act quickly since contractors will be hard pressed to complete the project by the looming deadline.

After Mrs. Galloway’s remarks, council voted to enter an executive session. After the executive session had been called, Mayor Bob McLean advised those in attendance that City Manager Bill Ed Cannon would address Ms. Galloway’s comments when council returned to open session. Following the closed-door discussion and City Councils’ return to the public meeting, Bill Ed Cannon said that he is a professional engineer and the first item in the engineering code of ethics is to maintain the safety of the public. He then explained that the property along Millers Fork Creek is not inside the city limits of Clinton and therefore is not within the jurisdiction of the Clinton Police Department. He said he did not wish to put anyone in jeopardy along that trail when Clinton police officers could not police the area. Cannon said that he had stated all of that back in March of this year.

The city of Clinton has participated in planning for this trail, has put the project out to bid at least once and has discussed the project intermittently for several years; but it appears now that the grant acquired to build Miller Fork Trail, following multiple extensions of the deadline, will be allowed to expire, effectively returning $99,000 to SCPRT.