Manning gets grant to demolish condemned buildings

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The City of Manning has received a Community Development Block Grant from the Department of Commerce (DoC) Community Enrichment Program. Governor Henry McMaster approved the grant, and the city was notified on November 28. The grant awards $308,880 to the City, and the funds are to be used to demolish 23 condemned structures in the Dickson/Durant area. The City will match the funds by 10 percent. According to Manning City Administrator Scott Tanner, the City began working toward this grant this past spring, beginning discussions during budget meetings. “For these grants to be competitive, they have to be in low-to-moderate income areas,” said Tanner. “We spent a lot of time out in the field surveying areas.” By July, Tanner, Councilman Johnny Gordon, Councilman Julius Dukes and Carroll Harrington began scouting the area, assessing the homes and businesses to be included in the demolition project. The grant submission occurred in September. Some of these homes have been vacant for years, even decades. They’ve been on the City’s books as not meeting code for several years. “They’re in no shape to be renovate or refurbished,” said Tanner. “Basically, we’re trying to improve blight. Quite often these buildings become rat infested or become havens for crime. We’re trying to get rid of those structures.” The majority of the buildings are homes, with a few commercial buildings and an old church. In 2015, in the Fleming area, the City participated in this program, during which they removed approximately 15 dilapidated buildings. After the demolition and cleanup, the area saw a decrease in crime, according to Tanner. City officials will meet with the Santee Lynches Council of Governments, as this organization will help administer the project. Next will come an environmental report, and the buildings will be inspected for asbestos. If asbestos is found, which is likely in at least some of the buildings, this must be cleaned up prior to bidding for demolition. Tanner hopes to begin taking bids for the demolition project by the summer of 2019, and if all goes well, the project will complete some time between the end of 2019 and spring of 2020. Any extra expenses over the grant amount will have to be covered by the City. Conversely, any extra funding would be returned to the DoC. “What we’d do is that if there’s another structure we can identify, we would ask if we could demolish that as part of the grant and spend any extra money,” said Tanner. The DoC will approve the contracts and the pay requests and any change orders. After the project is complete, The DoC will audit the City to ensure the records were accurately kept and all rules were followed when administering the grant.

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