City awarded $500,000 grant

The City of Union will use a $500,000 state grant to make infrastructure and other improvements on four streets in the Union Mill Village area.

During Tuesday’s Union City Council meeting, Mayor Harold Thompson announced that he’d received the following letter from Gov. Nikki Haley:

“It is my pleasure to announce that the City of Union will receive $500,000 from the Community Development Block Grant program. Funds will be used for neighborhood improvements in the Union Mill Village.”

Thompson said Friday that the grant, along with a $50,000 match provided by the city, will be used to finance the Union Mill Village Phase III project. He said the project will involve improvements on Lawson Avenue, Hicks Street, Spring Street and Lybrand Street. The improvements will include:

• Demolition of five dilapidated houses and one dilapidated storage building.

• Improvements to neighborhood sidewalks.

• Upgrades of the area’s sewer system.

• The installation of 20-25 new street lights.

Thompson said the project is the latest phase in what he described as “a systematic effort to clean up the city.” He said the Union Mill Village project is part of a plan developed by the city to address the needs of Union’s neighborhoods, including those that he said have been neglected over the years.

One of those neglected neighborhoods is the McBeth Street, Carson Street, and Cornwell Street area which Thompson said the city will focus on after the Union Mill Village Project is completed. He said the area has a number of abandoned and burned out building as well as a number of infrastructure needs that he hopes to address as soon as possible.

Thompson said the city is not only working systematically to address the needs of its neighborhoods, but is working equally systematically to obtain grants to finance the projects.

“Every time you have a grant for a project, once it is done the state will come in and review what you’ve done to see if you’ve followed all the required steps,” Thompson said. “When the state has come in and looked at how we’ve handled the grants we’ve received they’ve said we’re doing excellent.”

Thompson said that by following to the letter the rules under which it receives state grants for community improvement projects, the city has improved its chances of getting grants for future projects. He said that getting the grants from the state not only enables the city to do such projects, it saves the city a great deal of money since it doesn’t have to come up with all or most of the funding on its own.

By Charles Warner, Staff Reporter with The Union Daily Times