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Parking, New Building To Change Face Of Local Space

Demolition is underway on one of Colleton County’s most visible projects, a two-in-one deal that includes the building of a new county support building and additional parking for city and county events.

Two retail buildings that used to sit across from the intersection of Wichman Street and Jefferies Boulevard, near downtown Walterboro, were taken down late last week. By Friday, the clean-up phase of the demolition had begun.

The project is part of a two-fold plan: to give residents more parking and to clear way for new construction on the Colleton County Taxpayer Services Center.

As for the parking expansion, this is the result of a recent agreement between Walterboro City Council and Colleton County Council. In that agreement, the two elected bodies transferred ownership of the former “county parking lot,” a space near the end of East Washington Street and across from the Colleton County Courthouse. This parking lot is a part of the property that will be the Discovery Center, a new headquarters for the Walterboro Wildlife Sanctuary. The center will also have an outdoor amphitheater: according to city officials, the county parking lot will be used as parking space for the new Discovery Center and for construction of the outdoor amphitheater.

Because of this transaction between the city and county, however, more parking will be needed for county governmental building complex. This complex includes the current Probate Court Building, the Colleton County Detention Center, the Harrelson Building and the Colleton County School District. “As a part of that sale/transfer, we wanted more centralized parking opportunities for residents,” said Kevin Griffin, county administrator.

In addition to the expanded and new parking opportunities, the demolition on this corner is also a part of new construction. The new Colleton County Taxpayer Services Center will be built in this same area.

“Right now, we are getting it cleaned and cleared, and then we will go into the design phase of this project,” he said.

Actual construction on the new voter services building will likely begin the second-quarter of next year, in the Spring of 2018.

The new Taxpayer Services Center is part of the Capital Improvement Sales Tax, meaning the new building is being funded through the additional one-cent sales tax in the county. This additional sales tax was approved by voters more than two years ago in a referendum. The money generated from this additional one-cent sales tax is going to fund a list of countywide projects, including the new voter services building, an expansion onto the Colleton County Recreation Complex, numerous water system upgrades in rural parts of the county, a new Law Enforcement Complex, and improvements to the Hampton Street Auditorium. Several other projects are also being funded through the sales tax funds, including a community civic center in Cottageville.

This funding has also already helped to pay for the Edisto Beach Renourishment Project, which was recently completed in August of this year. The additional sales tax was approved by county voters to last for eight years. About $32 million will be generated during this time frame.

Heather Walters (1194 Posts)