County Council Vice Chair Dalhi Myers gave updates on a utilities project in Southeast Richland and the County’s COVID-19 response at a Saturday tele-town hall that drew nearly 1,000 residents.
Myers, along with Richland County Assistant Administrator John Thompson, discussed the Southeast Richland Water & Sewer Expansion Project, the County’s COVID 19 response and took live questions from attendees.
County officials outlined the project, which broke ground on April 15.
The event’s call-in format allowed Myers, who represents District 10, to respond to live questions and conduct yes-or-no polls to get real-time feedback from participants. Myers issued the following statement afterward:
“I’m so glad that so many constituents made time to attend this tele-town. Their attendance underscores the importance of basic infrastructure across Richland County. Indeed, the addition of 116 new fire hydrants and the eradication of open sewers at our schools is long overdue. I’m deeply gratified that my colleagues understood and rose to the challenge of alleviating these problems.”
The project will connect Hopkins Middle School, Hopkins Elementary School, Gadsden Elementary School and Franklin Park to public sewer service, eliminating long outdated and DHEC-sanctioned wastewater lagoons at those sites. In addition, the project will link public water and sewer services with residences, small businesses, government offices and churches in the area, as well as McEntire Joint National Guard Base.
In all, the effort represents a $30 million infrastructure investment in Southeast Richland. On Tuesday, May 5, Richland County Council also voted to allow the installation of conduit for the provision of high-speed Internet service while the sewer infrastructure is being laid.
Myers said, “over 95 percent of the attendees polled on the tele-town hall rated access to high-speed Internet as a 9, on a scale from 1-9. Clearly Council is hearing and responding to its constituents.”
County Administrator Leonardo Brown joined Myers’ town hall to help her address Richland County’s efforts to help mitigate the impact of the economic downturn caused by COVID-19.
As previously released, the County has dedicated $500,000 in grants for small businesses, $500,000 to address food insecurity for senior citizens and low- to moderate-income households and $250,000 for nonprofits to address other community needs, such as rent and utilities. Of those allocated funds, the County already has awarded $250,000 to help provide food for vulnerable seniors.