BLADENBORO — A busy agenda awaited members of the town board Monday and resulted in changes to a PARTF grant proposal, better lighting at Wateree Park and the hiring of three new town employees.
The most controversial issue became the issue of brighter lights in the parking lot at Wateree Park.
While some board members stated better lighting would offer more safety, others thought it was unnecessary to make the change, especially given the cost. According to Town Administrator John O’Daniel, the two lights cost $7.39 per month and the brighter lights would cost $38.85 per month — which is an increase of about $600 per year to the town.
“Wateree Park is a dawn to dusk park, which means it’s not in used after dark — unless there is a ball game, during which the field lights are on and light up the entire area,” he said. “I’m not sure I can see the safety aspect, but the board voted to go with the brighter lights.”
O’Daniel said it could be a month or two before the new lights are installed.
In other action Monday, the board:
— Voted to tweak its PARTF grant application in an effort to strengthen its proposal. The proposed tetherball item was scrapped in favor of a disc golf area, and a change was made from a 50-50 match proposal to a 60-40 match — with Bladenboro putting up $300,000 and getting a $200,000 match.
— Approved beautification work at Bridger Memorial Library to be done by the local garden club.
— Approved a field agreement with Dixie Youth Baseball.
— Voted to send concession stand operations at Wateree Park out to bid after Rayne’s Italian Ice declined a third year.
— Commissioner Sarah Benson offered to use $100 of her discretionary money and $100 of her own money to pay the rent for a storage shelter pod at Wateree Park for five months. The shelter will be used by Dixie Youth Baseball to store field work equipment.
— Heard an update from O’Daniel about the town’s Elm Street Project, who told commissioners things had become more involved than first thought because trees had been growing into the street and sewer drains. The board voted to rebid the project and will ask for engineering specs to give prospective bidders better information up front.
— Approved the hiring of Jeffery Grainger and William Scott as police officers, as well as Sherry Lanier as a utility linesman.
— Accepted the delivery of a 2018 Ford Taurus for the Bladenboro Police Department.
— Heard from O’Daniel about reviving the town’s Parks and Recreation Committee.
— Received a $250,000 Community Development Block Grant for backup generators.
The board will meet on Tuesday, March 27, to discuss an economic development five-year plan, as well as other items. That meeting will begin at 7 p.m.
W. Curt Vincent can be reached at 910-862-4163 or bladenjournal.com.