Hartsville envisions end of Lincoln Village
By Samantha Lyles, Staff Writer, email@example.com
Long considered a blight property and a public danger, the abandoned Lincoln Village housing project could be in its last days. Hartsville City Council voted at their March 10 regular meeting to proceed with a plan to accept ownership of the property with an eye toward eventual demolition.
Council voted without objection to pass first reading of Ordinance 4193, a measure that would transfer ownership of the nearly 7 acre property, located at 712 South Eighth Street, from developer JDL Castle Corp – working this project as Hartsville Flats LLC – to the City of Hartsville.
City manager Natalie Zeigler explained that the developer could not secure tax credits from the South Carolina Housing Finance Agency, and the company lacked adequate capital to renovate the property without state help.
A Feb. 19 letter to the city from E. Bryce Shearburn of JDL Castle Corp. stated that crucial information was withheld from his company during acquisition, namely hazardous environmental conditions (like asbestos in the walls) which would cost too much to remedy.
To avoid punitive action in the form of city codes enforcement fines, the developer offered to deed the property to the city.
Lincoln Village is comprised of eight two-story brick buildings that once housed 64 rental apartments. It was once a thriving residential area, but several ownership changes and years of neglect brought it low. The buildings became a hotbed of drug-related crime, and looters stripped out every pipe and wire for sale as scrap. In recent months, the buildings were boarded up, awaiting a reprieve that would not come.
“As you know, this has been an eyesore for a long time. We’ve had developers come in, and it has transferred hands several times,” said Zeigler.
She added that the cost-free property transfer would allow JDL Castle to write it off as a loss and let Hartsville apply for a Community Development Block Grant to demolish Lincoln Village and convert it to green space.
A document provided by the Darlington County Assessor’s Office values the property at $110,000, with $15,000 in added value from improvements. That same document states that in August of 2012, Hartsville Flats LLC paid $275,000 for Lincoln Village.
Also at this meeting, the City of Hartsville was formally designated a Certified Connected Community in recognition of the city’s efforts to improve and utilize online resources for residents and visitors.
Jim Stritzinger, executive director of state broadband initiative grantee Connect South Carolina, said Hartsville is only the sixth community statewide to earn this distinction, and one of only 43 such communities nationwide.
“It complements greatly our All American City award, and it puts us on a different platform with other cities across the nation so that people see Hartsville in a different light as one that’s prepared to meet technology challenges and recruit economic development in a connected city,” said Mayor Mel Pennington.
Council voted in favor of several ordinances and resolutions:
Ordinance 4190 renewed the lease of city-owned property at 147 West Carolina Ave. to FME Nuclear Solutions, LLC for use as office space.
4191 approved the continued use of Byerly Park facilities for Dixie Youth Baseball programs.
4192 approved the $11,000 purchase of a .027 acre parcel at 2602 West Bobo Newsome Hwy to facilitate the expansion of the Segars Mill Lift Station and move the station from beneath some power lines.
Resolution 03-15-01 awarded the plumbing maintenance contract for City of Hartsville facilities to Anderson Plumbing of Hartsville.
03-15-02 grants exclusive pouring rights for Byerly Park concessions to Pepsi Cola Bottling Company.
03-15-03 allows the city to reimburse itself for expenses incurred prior to issuance of $5 million in bonds to improve the Public Works (water) system and equip a new utility administration building.
03-15-04 awarded the Lawton Park playground equipment contract to Creative Playscapes of Mooresville, NC, for $150,000. The company will provide a natural playscape featuring synthetic climbing boulders. $75,000 of the cost is funded by a Land and Water Conservation Fund grant, with the city picking up the balance.