County Council will discuss salvage yard  fence today

A proposal to erect a taxpayer-funded fence in front of a salvage yard on U.S. Highway 1 will come up before Aiken County Council again tonight. Council will consider removing from the table a resolution to enter into a cost-sharing agreement with the City of Aiken for a screening fence to be designed and constructed by the South Carolina Department of Transportation to shield B&W Auto & Truck Parts from the view of passing traffic. Council voted by majority last month to table the resolution so the body could seek additional information. The cost of the fence would be shared equally between the County and the City but will not exceed $50,000. "We are looking at all of our options," said Councilman Scott Singer, who first announced that SCDOT had agreed to build the fence. "I am not at liberty to talk more about the options. County, City and state officials are looking at all of the options. I hope the issue will be resolved in a manner satisfactory to the public in the near future." The proposed resolution has been met with concerns from both City Council and County Council members. "The idea in and of itself is not bad," Councilman Gary Bunker said in December. But he urged Council to keep in mind the County's economic status, especially since the state budget has endured several cuts. "This is not the right time to pursue this." When City Council met in November, it agreed to revisit the proposed resolution in December, but the subject has not been discussed since. In other business, Council will consider accepting Community Development Block Grant funds for the removal of concrete and asphalt at Seminole Mill in Clearwater. Councilwoman LaWana McKenzie said there is still some cleanup at the site that needs to be completed before any redevelopment gets under way. The Landmark Group, who has expressed interest in the site, is in the process of reapplying for housing tax credits from the state to help fund the plan it has it mind. The development group applied for the same tax credits last year, but they were not granted. A representative with The Landmark Group is scheduled to give a presentation which will detail its redevelopment plan to Council in February. Before that, however, a town hall-style meeting has been tentatively scheduled for Tuesday, Jan. 20 at Clearwater Church so members of the community can be updated on progress at the mill site. A start time has yet to be set. Aiken County Council meets at 7 p.m. in chambers, located at 736 Richland Ave.