Using Community Development Block Grant funds from the South Carolina Department of Commerce, the town of Cheraw is nearly complete with the second phase of improvements to the Atlantic Coast Line Avenue neighborhood.
The first phase of the ACL project was a $25,000 grant to develop a plan to determine the necessary improvements for the $375,000 grant they received.
Some of the improvements in this second phase include paving of Everygreen, Brasington and Tote streets. Town officials will also purchase and install playground equipment at Brown Park. There will be some storm drainage improvements as well as the purchase and installation of four security cameras.
There will also be 15 houses demolished. As of Tuesday, all of the improvements were completed except for the demolition of the homes and the purchase of the security cameras.
Crews have started demolition work on the first six houses. They plan to address the remaining 10 with the next couple of months. When the work is finished, there will be 23 houses torn down.
Town Administrator Mike Smith explained the houses being demolished are all vacant. The property owners have signed agreements to have them torn down with the grant funds.
“Those property owners that either refuse or are absentee landlords have had the houses condemned and we’ve gone to court and the court has ruled that we can tear them down,” he said.
“The town sets aside around $15,000 per year addressing dilapidated housing and this amount enables us to tear down two or three houses a year (legal and actual demolition costs). As part of the ACL grant, we were able to receive a $375,000 grant although the town did have to put up a 10 percent match, or $37,500. But it is well worth it to get the roads paved, storm drainage, playground equipment and houses torn down.”
The property owners keep the property, Smith said. The town was just able to use the funds to remove what he called eyesores and safety hazards.
He noted the town will apply for a $375,000 Phase III grant which will complete improvements to the ACL area.
These improvements will include street paving to ACL Avenue, Martin Luther King and Clemmons streets, additional demolition of substandard houses, lot clearing and possible landscaping, installation of sidewalks, school bus shelters, formation of a neighborhood crime watch program and additional improvements to Brown Park.
Reach Maria D. Grandy at 843-537-5261.