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Town of Chapin leaders hold working lunch to set future priorities and goals

Chapin, SC (Paul Kirby) – The mayor and council of the town of Chapin met Wednesday at lunch to set and begin prioritizing goals for the town’s future. The working lunch was held at the Purple Martin Café at Timberlake Country Club. Jeff Shacker, field service manager with the SC Municipal Association, facilitated the meeting to lend a process to the effort. The meeting was very productive for the leaders of the fast-growing town. Some of the ideas for goals were extremely innovative and showed that the town’s government is genuinely looking to the future and ways that the town can be innovative in its approach to growing.

Mayor David Knight said his top priority for the town was seeing it grow at a manageable pace. He wants to focus on annexing properties just outside the town so that those residents will have a say in the direction of the town by being able to run for office and vote in municipal elections. He thinks they also would benefit from things like better police protection and lower water and sewer rates. The town also has tighter planning and development codes that prevent an area from looking less than pleasing and set a higher standard for developers.

Councilman Leland Teal’s ideas were in a large part about quality of life. He said he would like to see areas of the town covered by free wi-fi and wanted the town to continue to focus on developing places where people can come together and enjoy the town in public places. In turn, Teal said this would draw more people to the town’s businesses. Another council member said that the town should look at what it would take to begin bringing 5-G telecommunications service to Chapin, another thought about the future of technology and how it affects the everyday lives of people in this day and time.

Councilmember Kay Hollis even asked if others on council might consider trying to annex out to an old fish camp that’s not far from the town’s borders. “We call ourselves the Capitol of Lake Murray,” Hollis said. “It would be nice if at some point we had some of the lake in the town.” She said she envisioned a public marina and the old fishing camp might be the perfect and most feasible place for that. She also wanted the town to acquire more land along Chapin Road for development of public spaces that could be enjoyed by all.

Certainly, there were ideas that were not as exciting as those items. These were also added to the growing list being recorded by Shacker on large paper he hung on the wall of the room. These were equally as important even if less flashy. They included the completion of the sewer district’s master plan, either updating or completely doing away with some zoning overlay districts and completing the new $13 million-dollar wastewater treatment facility. These “nuts and bolts” issues were equally if not more important because they are basically the foundation on which the more enjoyable items would be built.

At the end of the lunch, Shacker gave each member of the council some homework. He asked that they all look at the pages of ideas and come up with a top ten list of what was the most important to them. Once that was done, the town could go to their staff and begin the process of figuring out how they could implement and reach their goals.

As some of the members left, Councilmember Al Koon said that the meeting was a great step forward in planning for the future of the town. “There is so much to do as the town grows that we really need to follow through on the brainstorming we’ve done here today. We need to work to update our comprehensive plan to include what’s important to us and the people of Chapin. It’s obvious that quality of life issues are high on the list of many of us. In order to implement those types of services and programs, I think we all realize the amount of planning and infrastructure that has to be completed and in place to make these solid, workable, services and programs.”

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