City: Safety complex to cost $15.7M

Mutual aid agreement passed for Sumter, Bishopville police

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At its Tuesday meeting, Sumter City Council approved a procurement resolution authorizing the City to accept a guaranteed maximum price of $15.7 million for construction of the new Public Safety Complex and associated facilities on Lafayette Street, minus $2.4 million already paid for preconstruction fees and site work.

City Manager Deron McCormick said the price was right in line with expectations.

Council also passed a resolution authorizing a Mutual Aid Agreement between the Sumter Police Department and the City of Bishopville Police Department and approved the first reading of an ordinance transferring the title to property on Liberty Street where the Sumter Economic Development Office is being built from the City to Sumter County, as well as the first reading of an ordinance authorizing the sale of approximately 1 acre located on Vinca Street behind Mabry Park to a private developer.

Council also approve procurement resolutions authorizing a contract for a new well at the Mayesville Water Plant with McCall Brothers Inc., of Charlotte, North Carolina, for $214,270, and a procurement resolution authorizing a $160,501 contract award to Modular Genius Inc., of Joppa, Maryland, for the purchase of a 30-foot by 72-foot modular building for the Police Firing Range.

Sumter Police Chief Russell Roark III said the building would be used as a classroom for the Sumter Police Department and other agencies which use the firing range.

During discussion, Councilor Calvin Hastie said a neighborhood group in the area of South Sumter Park has raised concerns about young men hanging around the park smoking marijuana and possibly conducting drug deals.

The City recently approved use of the South Sumter Gym as a Boys and Girls Club, and Hastie said some parents are concerned about drug deals taking place in the park and on adjacent property.

Councilor Ione Dwyer said she had earlier raised concerns about placing the Boys and Girls Club at the facility.

"Unless we provide some sort of protection, we need to close that program down," she said.

Roark said he will take a look at the situation but said it would be difficult to assign someone to the area. He said he was not aware of any complaints called in about the situation.

Hastie said he had made such a call and requested routine patrols of the park.

"These are routine things happening at the park and you can always see boys gathering and sitting on the tables," he said. "I don't want to have lunch on a table someone has been sitting on their bottoms all day."

Sumter Communications Manager Shelly Kyle updated the Council on the project to upgrade city water meters, saying that the project has started in Mayesville, with door hangers being placed to inform residents workers will be on their property to install new meters.

After a public hearing, the Council approved a variance to setback requirement for a property at 2505 Tahoe Drive.

A public hearing on a request to rezone nine parcels at 801 N. Main St., from general commercial, limited commercial and residential to planned development sparked a discussion on the future of the neighborhood near Morris College. The applicant is proposing to raze a vacant building and homes at the location, and Planning Director George McGregor showed Council a concept for an apartment complex with some commercial space that would be built on the site.

McGregor said the applicant had not yet presented a site plan, and several issues remain unresolved, including site drainage and a frontal landscape plan. He said that when the required site plan was presented, it would come back before City Council for review.

Several area residents questioned the effect the development would have on the neighborhood. The Council approved the first reading of the zoning change, but assured residents their questions about the project would be addressed before a site plan is approved.