Cheraw’s closed National Guard armory will reopen later this year as a home base for the town’s public works department, saving more than $1 million in building costs.
State Sen. Vincent Sheheen and Reps. Richie Yow and Pat Henegan presented Mayor Andy Ingram with the armory’s deed Friday morning. Yow and Henegan co-sponsored the House joint resolution authorizing its transfer to the town.
“This is a prime example of what can be done by working together,” Ingram said. “When we toured this facility, we all agreed this would be a perfect match to relocate our public works department. We’re looking at over a million dollars in savings.”
Renovating the armory will cost an estimated $250,000, Ingram said, but building a new facility for the town’s 13 public works and seven parks and grounds employees would have added about $1.5 million to the price tag.
“I’ve seen too many National Guard armories that got rundown, that have a flea market operating in it, and I think you guys are really going to put this building to good use to serve the community,” said Sheheen, D-Kershaw.
When the South Carolina National Guard shuttered armories across the state in 2014, Chesterfield County’s legislative delegation approached Ingram to see if the town would have a use for the facility.
“The mayor and council made a really compelling case that they would be able to use this asset and save the taxpayers’ money,” Sheheen said.
Yow, R-Chesterfield, and Henegan, D-Marlboro, introduced House Bill 3846, a joint resolution giving state officials the green light to transfer the armory to the town of Cheraw, on March 17.
House members passed the bill 90-0 in a roll-call vote. Sheheen shepherded it through his Senate Finance Committee and the measure passed the full Senate 42-0 on May 19. Gov. Nikki Haley signed the bill into law June 1.
Town Administrator Mike Smith said renovations to the armory should be complete by year’s end. Officials have yet to decide how the current Cheraw public works building will be used.
At the former armory, Smith said sheds will be built for vehicle storage, windows will be installed in some of the concrete walls, an entranceway will be built, an oil pit will be added for heavy vehicles and the interior walls will be repainted.
Reach Editor Corey Friedman at 910-817-2670 and follow him on Twitter @corey_friedman.