Latest News from the Town of Cheraw
Water and Sewer infrastructure remains a top priority in Cheraw. After analyzing potential sites in Cheraw for a new water treatment plant, Town engineer Davis & Floyd along with Town Council and the Utilities Department have determined that the Old Public Works Department (East Market Street near the River) is the best location for the construction of a new water treatment plant. The area is large enough to accommodate a 6 million gallon per day plant and is not located in any flood hazard or wetland areas.
The Mayor, Town Council, and Town staff have been working diligently with Senator Scott’s Office, Senator Graham’s Office, Congressman Rice’s Office, the South Carolina Rural Infrastructure Authority, and the Pee Dee Council of Governments to identify any and all possible funding sources to help offset the cost of the $40 million dollar facility. A new water treatment facility is just one of many components of a 10-year Capital Improvement Plan adopted by Town Council in 2020. This plan also includes scheduled water rate increases. While the decision to raise water rates is never easy, the Town of Cheraw has for decades had the lowest water and sewer rates in the State of South Carolina. Cheraw’s water rates will remain below the state average as the increases take place. If aging systems are not upgraded and replaced, it could cause a disruption in water services for our residents and our industries.
The Town is currently awaiting notification for grant funds to address structural issues associated with the Town’s existing water treatment plant. The $450,000 repairs will enable the Town to keep the water treatment plant operating until a new treatment plant can be built. Construction of a new water treatment plant is projected to take 3 to 5 years.
The Town will also be applying for infrastructure funding in the amount of $10 million to address additional water/wastewater needs identified in the Town’s 10 year capital improvement plan. The application for applying for these funds is due September 12th and the funds have to be spent by December 2026.
The Fire Department recently received a $500,000 grant to replace a 25-year-old tanker truck. A tanker truck is used to transport up to 2,000 gallons of water to fires where a hydrant may not be readily available. This important firefighting tool ensures adequate coverage for all of Cheraw’s residents. 2022 also marks the third year in a row that Cheraw has been designated a Fire Safe SC City. Thank you to our fire department staff for their work on these projects.
Cheraw’s Police Department will continue to expand the town wide camera system this year. Cheraw’s cameras have provided a valuable tool in the fight against crime. Cameras have helped solved numerous cases since their initial installation in 2020, and Cheraw is one of the state leaders in the recovery of stolen vehicles.
Work is nearing completion on the first phase of the Agerton/Godfrey Community Development Block Grant program. The first phase of the program involved repaving and striping existing streets. The Town will apply for an additional $500,000 grant in the fall. This funding will be used to begin phase two of the Godfrey/Agerton project which includes additional community development activities like stormwater improvements and safety.
The Town worked with the SC Office of Resiliency to select an engineering firm to oversee the $9.8 million in stormwater improvements that will address two specific drainage areas – Powe Street Area and Tanyard Ditch. The Town will be submitting for additional storm drainage funding as additional grant funds are available. The SC Office of Resiliency is currently executing a contract with Davis and Floyd Engineers to begin the work on the existing $9.8 million project and the engineers should be able to get started in August.
The Town has submitted a list of 42 roads in need of repaving to the Chesterfield County Transportation Commission. While it is unlikely that all projects will be funded, the Town is working closely with the CTC and SCDOT to try and get some of these local roads repaved.
The housing market in Cheraw is staying busy just as it is in the rest of the country. The Town will begin searching for a professional planning firm to develop a housing development study for the town. This comprehensive plan will provide baseline data and information to assist in the recruitment of new housing development for Cheraw.
The Town continues to focus on downtown improvements in preparation for the opening of the Springhill Suites hotel. From the Town Green to sidewalks to new landscaping and lighting, investment will continue in the downtown to promote development. This includes the implementation of new incentives for historic downtown buildings along with other incentives available to the Town. You may learn more about development incentives in the Town by going to https://www.cheraw.com/.../incentive_program_for_new....
The Town of Cheraw recently hired Ken Mason to serve as the Town’s new Director of the Cheraw Recreation and Leisure Services Department. Ken has had a long career in recreation, serving as the Assistant Director of Parks and Recreation in Mullins, SC for 17 years prior to moving to Cheraw. We look forward to his leadership at the Cheraw Recreation and Leisure Services Department. The Town is now looking to hire an Athletic Coordinator within the next month.
Other projects being undertaken for the Recreation Department include the replacement of the ballfield lights at Arrowhead Park which should be commencing in the next several weeks. The project is funded in part by a grant from the SC Department of Parks, Recreation, and Tourism. Work will also commence soon on the resurfacing project at Levi Byrd Park. Members of the County Delegation were on hand to present a big check to the Town for the work today. The budget for this year also includes funding for the installation of sound panels for the Cheraw Community Center to improve the indoor acoustics.
Design firm SGA will present options for a Recreation Master Plan to Town Council at the July Town Council Briefing. The Town is seeking the best options for future recreation development and redevelopment – including sites at Arrowhead Park, the Wannamaker Property on Front and Powe Street, and Caston Park. With the near completion of the downtown hotel, recreation improvements will provide a great quality of life boost to the Town and enable the Town to attract numerous sports tournaments to Cheraw’s facilities.
Registration is currently open for Fall Sports at the Cheraw Community Center. Open registration for our 2022 fall sports from Monday, July 18th through Friday, August 26th from 8:30am - 5:00pm at the Cheraw Community Center or access our on-line registration any time: https://cheraw.recdesk.com/Community/Home. Fall sports include Football, Cheerleading, and Soccer. Call the Cheraw Recreation Department at 843-537-8420 for more information.
The Cheraw Arts Commission continues to offer activities and events for families and people of all ages. From Market on Market to Art Classes, the Arts Commission staff is busy planning for the upcoming fall season. 2022 will see the return of the more familiar SC Jazz Fest format. Mark your calendar now for the weekend of October 15th for the 2022 SC Jazz Festival.
Cheraw’s historic district is one of our greatest economic assets and its preservation continues to be a top priority. In the last year Town staff have obtained over $340,000 in funding from the National Park Service through the South Carolina Department of Archives and History. Projects range from planning to brick and mortar rehabilitation of historic buildings. On Friday, July 22nd 2022, the State Board of Review will officially vote on the Coulter Academy National Historic District Nomination. If it passes the State Board of Review, the nomination will be presented to the National Park Service in October for a final vote of approval, at which points the Coulter Academy National Historic District would be made official.
Unfortunately, cities and towns of all sizes are coming under cyber attack with their data being stolen or held for ransom. These attacks are often untraceable and cause significant damage to municipal operations. Last year the Town of Cheraw engaged with IT Firm Asset Technology Group to strengthen our IT infrastructure and protect against possible cyber-attacks that may compromise operations and data.
The Town is also taking steps to repave the runway of the Cheraw Municipal Airport. Grants funds have been secured to hire an engineering firm to oversee the project. The paving of the airport is expected to cost approximately $3.5 million dollars and the majority of this will come from the Federal Aviation Agency. The Town recently completed a $350,000 obstruction clearance project at the airport that removed trees that had grown up to the point where airplanes taking off and landing were becoming a safety hazard.
Town staff have also submitted numerous grant applications for Town Departments – including computers, servers, body armor, and guns for the police department.