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For nearly five years the Simpsonville City Commission has been sitting on ready to get its spiffy downtown sidewalks constructed and open for the public’s feet.
That feat may be a bit closer by the end of this month, because commissioners hope soon to entertain and let bids for the final contracts on the project.
That sidewalk, the first real phase of the city’s long-range Village Center Project, will stretch along the south side of U.S. 60 between Old Veechdale Road and Fairview Drive. The project is funded in part by a federal stimulus grant of $320,000, and getting those dollars approved has kept the cement not even poured, much less wet.
But all the governmental hurdles were cleared last month, and officials are expecting to receive bids by next week’s deadline and hope to have a choice to approve at the commission’s next meeting, on June 19.
“Bids are due next week, and we’ll find out where we stand,” City Administrator David Eaton said.
Eaton said he was unsure how many bids there may be to consider, but he spoke in optimistic tones.
“Seems like seven or eight contractors have picked up the plans, which is a good number,” he said. “We’ll see how many actually file a plan. Just because you pick up the plans doesn’t mean you will. We’ll know more then.
“I hope to have a bid to present at our next meeting, on the 19th, but we’ll see.”
The first phase of the project, the relocation of utility lines, was completed earlier this spring.
City officials would like for the project to be completed by mid-November, in time for the annual Light Up Simpsonville, but Eaton has cautioned them that such a timetable may be too aggressive.
Outlet mall issues
Commissioners at their meeting on Tuesday night gave final approval to two ordinances for which they had second readings that are positioned to provide assistance to the Horizon Group Properties, which on Tuesday morning broke ground officially for its outlet mall on the south side of Interstate 64.
Commissioners approved granting a 5-year break on employment taxes that is expected to save Horizon about $360,000. Horizon officials have projected the mall would bring 1,000 jobs to the city and have an annual payroll of $30 million, and based on those numbers, the city would split $150,000 in annual revenue for the first five years, returning $360,000 to Horizon.,
The city also is deeding to Horizon, Proctor Lane, a small road connecting Buck Creek Road (KY 1848) and Veechdale Road, which will be rerouted farther south and through the mall property. There are two vacant houses on the road, and the land along both sides is owned by Horizon or AKBD, a company owned by John Schnatter, founder and CEO of Papa John’s Pizza.
At its meeting on May 16, the commission had agreed to contract with Horizon allowing the company to prorate its sewer tap-on fees for a 5 years (an ordinance allowing that passed earlier this year). That, too, is about a $360,000 tab, based on information provided by Horizon. It could grow or fall. The company has to pay for drilling a line under Interstate 64 to connect to the city’s existing sewer network.
Relative to that, the commission approved a resolution to expand and restructure an existing bank loan to $1.350 million to accommodate the cost of that new sewer line under I-64. The existing loan was $950,000, and the city received an extra $400,000 and a lower interest rate.
Also at the meeting, commissioners: