Fort Mill Town ward districts on path toward change

jmarks@fortmilltimes.comOctober 12, 2012 

— Town Council hopes to smooth out the voting numbers in Fort Mill’s four districts by the end of the year, setting off a timeline last week that includes several public notices and hearings.

At its Oct. 8 meeting, Council passed a resolution to set criteria for redistricting. Invitations and requests for comment were sent to county and state public officials, and the state NAACP. A public hearing and first reading comes Nov. 12. Another public hearing and final reading will be Dec. 10.

The redistricting plan would then need federal approval before being finalized.

Currently, Fort Mill has four precincts ranging from 1,397 residents to 3,520. There also are two at-large members of Council. The new plan, based on population figures from the 2010 federal census, would redistribute the districts to contain between 2,599 and 2,773 residents.

The plan is the same as one discussed during a June workshop. Then, Council members said the move likely wouldn’t stir much controversy since all voters in town get to vote on all candidates anyway, and often residents bring problems or suggestions to more than just their one district council member.

“We’re starting the process,” said David Hudspeth, town manager. “It’s the exact same plan.”

More Millstone

Also discussed at the Oct. 8 meeting was the final phase of Millstone Park, where The Dodd Studios proposes adding a “neighborhood setting” park playground and historical information to the area at the bottom of Main Street.

Dan Dodd said the playground might only be a quarter the size of the playground at Walter Y. Elisha Park. It would have a history board explaining the significance of the granite millstone where the park looks up Main Street.

“It was just sort of the last piece of the puzzle,” Dodd said.

Millstone is a passive park and will remain that way. Dodd envisions the playground, located next to an existing parking lot on the N. White Street side going toward Spratt Street, as a place to begin a walk or jog through historical areas of town and public areas like Elisha Park.

“It would be a great hub to kind of start your journey,” he said.

The decision last week was to allow Dodd’s company to develop detailed plans and a budget, Hudspeth said, which would then be presented in full to Council.

According to the Fort Mill History Museum, the granite millstone located in the Millstone Park plaza is one of three remaining millstones from Webb’s Mill, a grist mill operating on Steele Creek from the 1770s to 1880s. Webb’s Mill served as inspiration for the “mill” in Fort Mill.

Millstone Park was dedicated on Sept. 18, 2010.

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