Cheraw Town Council members expressed concern Tuesday night that the community could lose Chesterfield General Hospital.
Cheraw Town Administrator Mike Smith said hospital representatives told him that their management firm may not renew the lease on the property when it is up in April 2015. The hospital is on Hwy. 9 in Cheraw.
“They have made it clear they are not going to renew the lease,” Smith said.
Several council members said they were troubled by the idea of losing the community’s only hospital and asked if there is a chance the current management firm will have a change of heart.
“Hopefully, the hospital will be able to obtain another management firm in the coming year,” Smith said. “They have been through this kind of thing before. But, it’s never been made public knowledge before, until after the fact.”
In other business, the council discussed how recent policy changes for town employees who run for political office may effect former Cheraw Police Chief Jay Brooks.
“There are no guarantees,” Cheraw Mayor Andy Ingram said.
While Brooks is assured a job with the Cheraw Police Department, if his race for Chesterfield County sheriff is not successful his position as chief is not guaranteed.
“Brooks understands this,” said Smith, “and does not have a problem with it.”
“But that doesn’t mean he won’t return as chief either, right?” Cheraw Town Councilman Reid McBride said.
Cheraw Town Councilwoman Jacqueline Ellerbe-Shannon was the only council member to vote against the policy change last month.
“Would Brooks have decided to run had the policy been more clearly written before he filed his candidacy? That’s my only concern,” said Ellerbe-Shannon.
Yard debris was the topic of conversation for much of council’s briefing this week.
Smith has been working on new policies regarding the pick up and disposal of yard debris, hoping to find a way to save some money. No decisions were made, but Smith will continue to work on the issue in the coming weeks with Donna Byrd, director of Cheraw Public Works.
Bids for new solid waste contracts for the town have been received, as the town is looking into doing away with the recycling program. Of the town’s entire population, nearly 5,000, only 200 residents in town actively participate in the recycling program. Council will vote on those contract bids next week.
The Cheraw Complex remains in limbo as the architect is still waiting on a survey for the Cheraw Complex. Carl Maness was slated to do that survey, said Smith, “but he has not been well. I told him we would have to hire someone else if he couldn’t finish this week.”
The walls of the Theater on the Green will be given a fresh coat of paint beginning June 16. And the rotten boards of the deck surrounding the dressing rooms will be replaced this summer as well.
For more than two years town officials have been trying to acquire a piece of property adjacent to Arrowhead Park. But with another request for soil testing, Smith told council “it might be time to stop.”
This time the request to test for chromium levels will cost the town $2,000.
“Why hasn’t it shown up in previous test,” Cheraw Mayor Andy Ingram asked.
No one knew the exact answer to that question. However, approximately $23,000 has already been spent in testing on the property that was once owned by Weller Tools.
— Karen Kissiah can be reached at 843-537-5261.