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KERSHAW – Kershaw town officials are hoping to bowl a strike with their most recent decision regarding Stevens Park.
At its meeting Thursday, Feb. 21, council members voted 6-0 to spend $118,330 on new bowling lanes at the park’s recreation center.
The money will come from the town’s reserve fund.
Councilman Michael Cook was absent Thursday.
Town officials have long discussed ways to increase patronage at Stevens Park. Talks usually touch on the bowling alley.
Councilman Wade Hunter said he received bids from two companies to perform the renovations – AMF for more than $250,000 and Superior Bowling for $118,330.
Hunter said the difference in price is largely due to the nature of the work, as Superior Bowling will merely place synthetic lanes on top of the existing wood lanes.
He said new controls, gutters and TV screens are also part of the improvements.
As Hunter provided details on the renovation goals, Councilman Morris Russell questioned the series of events leading up to Thursday night’s vote.
Russell said he had not seen the two price quotes until that night and believed council members weren’t following the town’s purchasing policy dealing with the bid process. He asked why a notice had not been placed in the local newspaper to advertise for bids – which is a requirement for projects over a certain dollar amount.
“I feel blind-sided (being) asked to vote yes or no,” Russell said. “I think this is a bad business decision for the Town Council.”
Hunter said placing the ad locally likely would not have been beneficial because there’s no business locally able to perform the work.
Town Attorney Mandy Powers Norrell affirmed that notion. She said there’s an inclusion in the town’s ordinance that says the town doesn’t have to advertise locally for such projects.
Meanwhile, Mayor Wayne Rhodes emphasized his desire to move forward now with improvements at Stevens Park.
With Romarco Minerals expecting to receive its permit this year to build a mine at Haile Gold Mine near Kershaw, Rhodes believes Stevens Park can benefit greatly from the influx of people who will be working in the area.
“We can’t wait until things start happening and people are here,” Rhodes said. “We have to start soon to be ready for what’s coming.”
Councilman Eddie Coates also sees an improved Stevens Park as an attraction.
“With how high gas is, people will stay around here,” he said. “That gives them something to do.”
After the discussion, council voted to accept the bid from Superior Bowling.
Contact reporter Jesef Williams at (803) 283-1152