Clinton, S.C. – A letter from a Clinton resident was read to Clinton City Council Monday night, prompting a discussion among council members about the possibility of hiring an overall project manager for the recreation complex being built off of S.C. Hwy. 56 near the edge of the city limits.
Due to the rising COVID-19 numbers, the city held its regular December meeting in a closed session this week and in the letter read by City Clerk Tammy Templeton, Joseph Dyches expressed concern about many factors of the recreation complex. He voiced engineering concerns and the unknown final costs of the entire project.
Council member Ronnie Roth said he has had several conversations with Dyches and was aware that he had filed two FOI requests for information.
“This is a huge project,” Roth said. “We have set a balance and we also have stated that it is open ended because as we are able, we are going to expand on it, so it is very tough to have a definitive budget. But we have a citizen who does have concerns and there is no question that as council members we are not qualified at this level. He is asking for accountability, as he stated.”
City Manager Bill Ed Cannon told council that while grading did begin several weeks ago, the occasional heavy rains have made continual work difficult.
“If it rains one day, you lose a week,” Cannon said, “and I can tell you with this weather you can’t get grading work done.”
Assistant City Manager Thomas Higgs said that the city and a legal team are compiling the answers to Dyches’ questions in the FOI requests, and he would get that information to all council members as well.
Roth said the city is essentially a $30 million business and it needs to be accountable.
“And we are adding some multimillion dollar projects, so perhaps a level of oversight is necessary,” Roth said. “I think our response to Mr. Dyches should be quick.”
Roth also stressed that in no way was his suggestion to be considered as a judgment against the work city staff has been doing on the recreation complex, but that perhaps the city should consider hiring a project manager.
Council member Danny Cook suggested reviewing the matter at a Dec. 17 workshop planned by city council to discuss several bond issues since it went along with their workshop purposes.
“I want to see more information on where we are and a possible completion date,” Mayor Bob McLean said, adding that he could reach out to a company the city had worked with in the past. The company specializes in large recreation projects.
In other business, council approved resolutions commending for their service retiring YMCA executive director Gene Simmons and retiring Presbyterian College President Bob Staton.
Council also saw a presentation about the initial data collection by Blake Sanders on the city’s connectivity study, which, if acted upon, could increase the walkability and safe cycling within the city. The city plans to consider grants in order to incorporate some of the plans into the city budget.