Reidville supports developer’s plan for town center
Saying growth is needed to pay for a police department, Reidville Town Councilman David Sloan on Monday revealed council’s support of a developer’s plan to turn the old elementary school into a town center.
“Progress is coming and we can’t stop it,” Sloan told more than 75 residents at a special meeting Monday at the Reidville Fire Station. “As our town grows, security becomes a key issue.”
Council will present its position to the Spartanburg School District 5 Board of Trustees on Monday, Aug. 27, in hopes the board will donate the old Reidville Elementary School to the town when it becomes vacant.
The school district is planning to open a new elementary school on the eastern side of Reidville next year and vacate the 1948 school on College Street.
The school has been the center of controversy since the school district announced earlier this year plans to auction the school. But the board decided to wait until it received input from the Reidville Town Council.
On Monday, the five council members, including Mayor Andrew Dixon, explained their reasons for supporting developer Bill Cureton’s town center plan. His plan includes razing the oldest part of the school.
But members of Friends of Reidville want to save the entire school for use by the BJU Education Group, which is part of the Greenville-based Bob Jones University, for a K-4 Christian school. Many say a town center will harm Reidville’s rural, small-town charm.
Sloan said many subdivisions have recently been built, which is putting stress on town services. The town has a property tax rate of only 15 mills and has not had to raise taxes in 20 years, but without new revenue sources like the town center a police department would not be possible, he said.
Further, a town center would also give residents stores, a community center, a place for wedding receptions, restaurant, and a new town hall -- all part of Cureton’s town center plan. Cureton has already bought 55 acres adjacent to the 12-acre school site.
“If we generate enough revenue, we can finance a police department,” Sloan said. “We need to be offensive, not defensive because when you’re playing catch-up ball, it’s too late,” he said.
He said the Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Office covers Reidville, but only one deputy is assigned to a large area from Reidville to Woodruff. Response time with a local police department would be much faster, he said.
Also speaking in favor of development was Mayor Dixon. The other council members who attended also support the development -- Palmer Burchstead, Gregg Gowan, and Vickie Pittman.
Dixon and Sloan did not ask the audience for feedback Monday evening, but most appeared to be happy with council’s decision.
Longtime resident John Campbell said he was on a committee that incorporated Reidville as a town more than 20 years ago.
“I think the town needs to grow,” he said. “It’s an amazing plan if they can pull it off.”
We are looking for one more member for the Town Board of Appeals. They meet on an as needed basis when there is an appeal to a decision made by the Town Planning Commission.
Please contact the Reidville Town Hall if you are interested.