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1/28/2013 9:26:00 PM
City Council delays vote on demolishing mill site buildings
Michael Bedenbaugh, executive director of the Palmetto Trust for Historic Preservation, speaks to Greenwood City Council about the Kitson Street old mill site during Monday night's council meeting.
+ click to enlarge
Michael Bedenbaugh, executive director of the Palmetto Trust for Historic Preservation, speaks to Greenwood City Council about the Kitson Street old mill site during Monday night's council meeting.
Greenwood City Manager Charlie Barrineau, right, addresses City Council during Monday night's meeting. Also pictured is council member Niki Hutto.
+ click to enlarge
Greenwood City Manager Charlie Barrineau, right, addresses City Council during Monday night's meeting. Also pictured is council member Niki Hutto.
Rick Hendricks
Community Reporter

GREENWOOD — City Council agreed Monday night to postpone a vote to move forward with demolition and removal of the warehouse and office building at the former mill site on Kitson Street.

The move came following a public hearing on the issue. Six people spoke in opposition to demolishing the buildings, while one representative spoke on behalf of the neighborhood association near the site.

Michael Bedenbaugh, executive director of the Palmetto Trust for Historic Preservation, talked primarily about the office building on the site. He said he was authorized by his board of directors to discuss possible options with city officials for the building.

“Preservation works for communities,” Bedenbaugh said. “Five years from now, that building will add to whatever council decides to do with the property. In the short run, we can discuss ways to make it work.”

Council member Niki Hutto said the donated artwork to paint windows on the building rather than boarding up the windows could be a possibility. She also said officials could look at installing Plexiglas windows in the building.

“There might be people willing to donate their services to paint the windows,” Hutto said.

Council member Johnny Williams said he would be willing to postpone the vote on the demolition of the office building “if the building can be saved and made to look pretty.”

Jim Pfeiffer said he is opposed to the demolition and encouraged city officials to look at what the City of Greenville has done in revitalizing some of its old mill buildings.

“I’d love to see this city have a vision for these buildings,” he said.

Kathy Constant, who said she lives on the “fringe” of the old mill site, urged council to exercise patience in moving forward with the demolition. “Emotions should not overcome reason,” she said.

Chip Tinsley, president of the Greenwood County Historical Society, said the buildings could be used for some future development. “Once we lose those structures, we can’t bring them back,” he said.

A number of Greenwood Mill Village neighborhood residents were present at the public hearing, but only one representative spoke.

Cecile Fite, representing the neighborhood, said the group’s concern throughout the process has been “boarded-up, derelict” buildings, which she said would draw a criminal element to the area.

“We’re not waging war,” Fite said. “We love the buildings… we just don’t want them boarded up.”

One consideration in delaying the vote, City Manager Charlie Barrineau said, is that the company that is working on removing the smokestack will be finished with its work in another three to four weeks. If the company moves its equipment off-site, it cost an additional $2,000 per building to move the equipment back to the site if it is determined that the buildings need to be demolished. That would bring the total cost to about $30,000.

“I’d like to see us wait until we meet with Palmetto Trust and come up with a plan to present to the community, then go from there,” council member Betty Boles said.

Council voted unanimously to postpone the vote.

In other business, council gave second and final approval to a rezoning request for property at 316 Harvey Avenue from high density residential and manufactured housing to neighborhood commercial.

Also, second and final reading was given to an ordinance that reduces the number of parking spaces required for automobile/truck/motorcycle repair/service businesses.

First reading was given to an ordinance amendment that requires latches to be installed in connection with dumpster screening. Council gave unanimous approval to that measure.

Council also gave first reading approval to an amended ordinance that would eliminate the tax for vacant lots in the uptown special tax district. Barrineau said the tax assessed usually is less than the cost of a stamp to mail out a notice. Council voted 3-2 to approve the measure, as council members Kenn Wiltshire, Niki Hutto and Betty Boles voted in favor, while council members Ronnie Ables and Johnny Williams voted against it. Mayor Welborn Adams abstained from voting.

Council also approved an agreement with the S.C. Festival of Flowers concerning maintenance of topiaries.



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Related Stories:
• Uptown Farmer's Market closer to reality
• Another Day at the Office
• City Council to hear opinions on Kitson buildings
• Coming down slowly
• Letter to the Editor: A Call to Action



Reader Comments

Posted: Friday, February 1, 2013
Article comment by: Steve (Doc) Gambrell

Thank you, Mr. Bedenbaugh, for clarifying your statements, especially now, after the Ware Shoals newspaper came out yesterday. I'm sure you do your homework, including keeping yourself informed about possible opportunities to grow Palmetto Trust. Not a thing in the world wrong with that. So you must be aware that some(previous) Ware Shoals council member (s) brought your name up recently, as regards Katherine Hall, and it's preservation/restoration. You see, Mr. Bedenbaugh, I was at the first (Ware Shoals) council meeting, when you and your wife(?) addressed the Council, and the citizens who also attended. I suppose I'm easily ignored, and we didn't speak. You painted a rosy picture of Katherine Hall, and its functions, should it be restored. At the time, I believe that you and Warlick were working together. Please correct me if I'm wrong. Things are a bit different now. I hope the Town of Ware Shoals' new mayor, and some new council members, will not be so fast to jump on the first bandwagon that comes along. And, as far as Warlick and (former mayor) are concerned, I hope legal action will be taken. They laughed at what one called "small-town politics." I hope that's not the proverbial "last laugh." I hope the "last laugh" will be at their expense.
And for the record, Mr. Bedenbaugh, the old hippie at that 1st meeting, was me. I'm about6' 5" tall, 57 years old, 330 lbs., with hair past my shoulders, still.
And I apologize to those in Greenwood, for using this space to voice Ware Shoals' concern. May God bless us all.


Posted: Thursday, January 31, 2013
Article comment by: Mike Bedenbaugh

Thank you Mr Powell for your kind and supportive words.

Mr Gambrell, I understand your questions. I did stand on the steps of Ware Shoals Inn and speak in support of what I thought Mr Warlick had accomplished. It wasn't too long before I realized I was mistaken in my assessment. It is a sad story of lost trust and missed opportunities that made us realize that Mr Warlick could not accomplish what he had promised on a number of projects.

Michael Bedenbaugh
Executive Director
PTHP


Posted: Wednesday, January 30, 2013
Article comment by: Bea Terry

Thank you to the Greenwood City Council for their decision to postpone a decision on the demolition of the Greenwood Mills Office building.
This is the first step toward the actual preservation of this historic building and I would encourage those people in the community who feel strongly about this preservation to be forceful in taking the next step in that direction.
Preservation of old buildings is costly and the process is not an easy one. It will require dedication from members of the Greenwood community at large. I would encourage those folk who grew up on the mill village and those who still live on the old Greenwood Mill Village to be supportive of whomever is willing to take on the task of making something very special of the building.
It is our heritage that the community will be preserving for our grandchildren and it is worth saving.
Again, congratulations to the members of the City Council for being progressive in their thinking and for being will to listen to those in the community who have voiced our opinions and concerns for the preservation of our Greenwood Mills heritage.
Bea Terry


Posted: Wednesday, January 30, 2013
Article comment by: Steve (Doc) Gambrell

Mr, Bedenbaugh, I appreciate your's and Mr. Powell's responses, and I thank you for using your real names! We don't see a lot of that.
Mr. Bedenbaugh, have you forgotten that, on June 17, 2009 you said, "After a process of several years of restoration, Frank Warlick, a friend of the Palmetto Trust and ally of all things preservation, formed a company called Vision Ware Shoals in order to redevelop the facility.
The dedication was held on this date because it marked the 30th anniversary of the Ware Shoals Inn closing. Completion of the restorations on this LEED Certified, National Register property is expected in one month."
Or, "Being the only statewide South Carolina preservation organization we have had a voice in advocating the importance of this type of project throughout the state. Itís very satisfying to see developers like Vision Ware Shoals take up the responsibility and through private entrepreneurship save our historic resources without a burden to charitable organizations locally. See my remarks here."
So, Mr. Bedenbaugh, are you saying that you never worked with Mr. Warlick before? I don't have a dog in this hunt, but I'd like to know what happened between June, 2009, and now, January 2013, that's caused you and Mr. Warlick to go about your separate ways? I am not accusing anybody of anything. I want to make that clear. According to (another news source), Mr. Warlick engaged in some "questionable" activity concerning Katherine Hall, and it's restoration. Whether he will be held accountable for his and (former mayor's) actions, is a question on a lot of peoples' minds. Again, Mr. Bedenbaugh, I thank you for your prompt reply.




Posted: Tuesday, January 29, 2013
Article comment by: Judy Turner Harris

I grew up on Greenwood Mill Village. My family worked for Greenwood Mills. I would like to see the office building and the warehouse restored and possibly a museum there. Why don't you get Skip Shelton to paint a picture of the mill and Mr. Self on one of the buildings in memory of Greenwood Mills. Mr. Self took good care of his workers, providing houses for them to live in. I've heard my parents and grandparents talk about how good Mr. Self was to his employees. You don't find that anymore. Build some nice houses on the sight that the neighborhood can be proud of.


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