One of the best things that happened last week was attending the ceremony at Chapin High School where Dr. Akil Ross was surprised to learn that he was named National Principal of the Year! Akil is such an important member of our community and during his tenure at Chapin High School, he has continued to challenge and raise the bar for his students, faculty and staff. The results speak for themselves – National Blue Ribbon School, Palmetto’s Finest, US World & Report Silver School recognition and a 96 percent graduation rate to name a few. We are blessed to have Dr. Ross and are grateful for all he does to inspire the next generation of community leaders.
At our council meeting last week, we discussed a number of issues related to transportation. We have been working for the past three years to expand our sidewalk network along Lexington Avenue to provide a safe pedestrian-friendly alternative to driving everywhere. Every time we think we get closer to starting construction, the SCDOT comes back with revised costs that make it exorbitant to pursue. The most recent estimate to expand the sidewalk from Inez’s Day Care to Fairhaven is $500,000, with 40 percent of that cost covering materials and labor, and the remaining 60 percent is SCDOT’s administrative costs to manage the project. That is ridiculous, and council rightly chose to pursue a different alternative to get our sidewalks constructed.
Similarly, Chief Zeigler had requested more than six months ago that SCDOT consider installing left turn signals at the intersection of Chapin Road and Lexington Avenue to relieve traffic congestion. Currently there is only one left turn signal at that intersection, instead of four. Unfortunately, SCDOT came back and said that intersection did not warrant additional signals at this time. We have also requested that they adjust the timing of the signals and add another light at the intersection of Columbia and NW Columbia Avenues to address motorists that continually block the space before the train tracks. We are still waiting on a determination on that request.
I mention these because I want our citizens to know that we are trying to address these traffic issues in town. We know that is one of the biggest complaints people have in Chapin. Unfortunately, we have little choice but to be the squeaky wheel as SCDOT has total control over these decisions. You can join us in making noise by reaching out to our legislative delegation and SCDOT Commissioner John Hardee to let your voice be heard.
I hope you will join us Wednesday evening for our Chapin Fall Night Out on Beaufort and Clark Streets, beginning at 5:30 pm. There will be a lot of interesting public safety displays, activities for children, and entertainment, including an anti-litter presentation by the Columbia Marionette Theatre and a laser light show. It promises to be a fun evening for all ages.
On Thursday morning at Town Hall, the Chapin Police Department is once again teaming up with Shred360 to provide free document shredding for our residents. The truck will be located in the Town Hall parking lot from 10 am to 12 pm. Please observe our three box/bag limit so we can allow more people to participate in this important service.
I want to thank Wrenn Barrett, director of Public Works for Lexington County, for his efforts to expedite repairs to the roads in Revelstone subdivision. While visiting residents in recent weeks, I was made aware of an issue that had been neglected since September of 2016. I requested an update on when crews would be able to take care of this matter, and he immediately followed up with me on a timeline for getting repairs made by the end of November. We will continue to monitor this to ensure the project is completed on time and to everyone’s satisfaction.
Finally, there seems to be some confusion about the sewer line extensions on Hwy. 76, with a targeted effort online to ask town council to vote No in moving forward with this project. Contrary to what a few select people are reporting on social media, our team is working in compliance with all state and federal regulations. Developers are paying to construct these lines. The town is not giving away free sewer taps. If you have questions about what our utilities department is doing, I encourage you to ignore the chatter on Facebook and schedule a meeting with Andy Metts at Town Hall to get the facts.