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Council nixes Riverwalk extension indefinitely

Rock Hill City Council Monday indefinitely tabled plans to spend $330,000 to extend the Riverwalk Trail that snakes along the Catawba River to the neighboring River Park.

The proposed extension was part of a $531,000 plan to redirect unused hospitality tax funds towards park improvements at the Riverwalk, Cherry Park and Hargett Park. It was the second attempt by Parks, Recreation and Tourism Director John Taylor to champion the efforts.

But the plan failed for a second time after councilman Kevin Sutton led the discussion away from investing $250,000 in a canopy below the Norfolk-Southern railroad trestle.

“I understand there’s a lot of excitement around the Riverwalk…but you can’t forget about some of our other areas,” Sutton said following the October 29 city council meeting. He reiterated a similar statement Monday that was echoed by other council members.

Following the discussion, councilwoman Sandra Oborokumo motioned to approve the measure, but it failed after no one on council seconded the motion.

 

NEW STANDARDS FOR INDUSTRIAL WASTEWATER CUSTOMERS

Also Monday, council OK’d changes to city wastewater ordinances that affect 17 industrial customers. The changes require new testing procedures for customers whose on-site treatment facilities cleanse wastewater of toxic substances and chemicals before their release into the city’s municipal sanitary sewer.

The new testing requirements bring city codes in line with the federal Environmental Protection Agency and the Clean Water Act.

“Everybody we talked to welcomed it. They said, ‘we like that and it gives us an immediate result,” said Rock Hill deputy City Manager Jimmy Bagley.

The new testing procedures can yield results in as little as two hours, compared two previous testing methods that took as long as five days to produce a result.

 

SORA-PHELPS, COUNCIL EAGERLY EYE SPORTS TOURISM AS PART OF KNOWLEDGE PARK

At a city council workshop Monday, Tim Elliot of Maryland-based Sora-Phelps updated leaders on the current progress of developing a master plan for the Knowledge Park corridor.

This week, Elliot said, he is wrapping up a labor-intensive process of converting city GIS records to an AutoCAD system. AutoCAD is a popular software suite used by architects and planners to develop graphical representations of prospective properties and, in turn, turn those graphics into workable construction plans.

Elliot hinted that developing a portion of the Lowenstein building into a sports convention complex could be a great resource for recruiting tech-sector jobs to the former Bleachery site on White Street.

City council members immediately opened up to the idea, given the success of city-wide efforts to infuse sports tourism with the Manchester Meadows Soccer Complex, Cherry Park and the Rock Hill Outdoor Center at Riverwalk.

Elliot said, in a hypothetical situation, the Bleachery site could house a mix of student housing, an active adult community, and high-tech firms like Under Armour or Nike.

Elliot and Sora-Phelps are set to present their findings in a draft master plan for the site in January or February. Council will then have final approval on the project.

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