Police, fire could remain downtown

Barnwell City Council now hopes to keep the police and fire departments downtown.

While the city originally planned to purchase property off Marlboro Avenue to build a new public safety building that would jointly house the fire and police departments, one property is held up in probate court. A number of councilmen also want to see the departments maintain their presence downtown, said City Administrator John Zawacki.

“They want it to stay in the city center,” said Zawacki.

Now they are looking to build a new fire department on the site that houses the current police administration building at the corner of Burr and Washington streets. They are looking to acquire an adjoining property that contains a vacant house.

The police department would go across the street on the site of the former Debra’s Florist building and the city’s parking lot. However, the city would need to purchase the old florist property, which is currently for sale. The city also contacted the property owner of a home behind the old florist, but they were not interested in selling, said Zawacki.

During council’s Sept. 18 meeting, they unanimously approved to authorize Zawacki and Mayor Edward Lemon to negotiate with owners of the two Burr Street properties and bring back a price for council to vote on.

In other news:

• Council approved the second and final reading of a time change for council’s regular monthly meetings. Meetings will now be held on the first Monday at 5:30 p.m. instead of 6:30 p.m.

• During public comment, Liana Orr from the Barnwell County Museum Board made a request of council. The city recently gave the museum a one-time allocation of $7,000 to repair the old police station shack that sits on the Circle because it has fallen into disrepair. In the event the entire $7,000 is not needed, Orr requested the council let the museum use any excess on other necessary repairs at the museum. Council took the request as information and will vote in October.

• Parks and Recreation Director Pamela Davis said football and cheerleading are going well and the August 12 MDA baseball tournament was “very successful”. She said the Solar Eclipse Watch Party that was jointly held with the library on August 21 attracted more than 300 people to Lemon Park. While attendance was low for the August 11 Movie in the Park, she said they had a great time and thanked the Barnwell High varsity football players for coming.

Upcoming recreation events include: Basketball registration Oct. 2-31, CPR and First Aid class on Oct. 7, Scarecrow Making at Fuller Park on Oct. 14, games on the Circle for Fall Fest on Oct. 19, the last football game on Oct. 31, and the Turkey Trot on Nov. 18.