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Clinton finally gets back to construction of recreation complex

Clinton, South Carolina – Clinton City Council took action Monday evening to finally start again on its long-awaited recreation complex, directing City Manager Tom Brooks to work with GMK Architects to select a building contractor for the project.
At its special called meeting, council met in executive session with GMK architect Bryant Brown.
“Mayor Pro Tem (Ronnie Roth), I’d like to

LET’S TRY AGAIN – After more than five years of discussion, a 2020 groundbreaking ceremony and starts and stops on grading, Clinton City Council members Robbie Neal, left, and Gary Kuykendall, right, join Mayor Pro Tem Ronnie Roth in asking the city manager to seek building contracts for a $4,725,000 Clinton recreation complex. Photo by Judith Brown

make a motion to authorize our city manager to execute a contract with GMK in an amount of $4,725,000 for our recreation complex,” said Councilman Danny Cook following executive session.
Without any discussion, council voted unanimously to approve the motion. Mayor Randy Randall was absent.
“About one year ago we contracted with GMK and Associates who said they would bring this project back within budget and build us what we could with the amount of money we had,” Brooks said following Monday evening’s vote. “This is to begin construction of it, with three fields, lighting, drainage and a roadway.”
This isn’t the city’s first attempt at developing the recreation center.
Soon after Bill Ed Cannon was hired as city manager in January 2018, he, council and then-mayor Bob McLean held public meetings to begin developing plans for a city recreation complex. The city held a groundbreaking ceremony in September 2020 at the purchased site on Highway 56 across from Springdale Drive.
Work was soon halted, however, as council attempted to mesh the projected large scale plans with the $4.5 million bond it obtained for the project, but not before $1,807,782 was spent on clearing, grading and drainage, Roth said.
“That work was done and we had already spent that, really prior to the bond,” he said, adding he was grateful to finally get to this point.
“We made a promise to the people, and it’s been quite a process,” Roth said, referring to one meeting when a design firm worked in every possible suggestion and presented a $46 million plan. “It was at that meeting that I asked every council member if they were still committed to this project and they said they were. When we first announced this, we announced that this was Phase I and it will be followed up with other phases as we were able to accumulate the revenue to do that.”
In other business, council approved first reading on several ordinances, including an amendment to an ordinance regarding parking requirements.
Building official Ashley Rochester said the city’s ordinance had required parking for one or two vehicles for residences, but now with apartment dwellings downtown that’s not an option. The amended ordinance will allow residents in downtown apartments to use open public parking, and apartment dwellers are to be made aware of that prior to the signing of their lease.
“We have plenty of parking downtown right now,” Rochester said, noting the five separate public parking areas. “People moving into downtown apartments would understand that there’s no designated parking before they sign,” she said. “And if a developer comes in wanting to build more apartments, they’d need to be in walking distance to available parking or provide their own parking.”
First reading was also given to a landscaping amendment requiring developers to either retain a specific number of existing trees or include the same numbers of trees in another area, Rochester said.
“They cannot just come in and clear-cut the space of trees,”  Rochester said. “If they do, then they have to replace them elsewhere so that there are no less than 20 trees per acre. That’s required because of Clinton’s Tree City USA designation.”
Council also unanimously agreed to rezone an area, tax map #901-34-01-007, located across from Technology Way at the Hwy 72, I-26 interchange, from agriculture to industrial.

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