USCOG January 2024 County-Specific Activities Report

Upper Savannah Council of Governments provides a wide scope of services and performs many functions. This activities report highlights this information and offers us the chance to regularly communicate our general activities in your county with you. Download the January report here.

 

 

3 Newest CDBG Projects in Early Stages; Other Projects Progressing Across Region

McCormick County Streetscape Project includes new sidewalk on West Augusta Street

Upper Savannah’s three newest Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) projects are in the beginning stages while several other projects are progressing throughout the region.

The City of Greenwood was awarded $750,000 in December 2023 for streetscape improvements to Waller Avenue in Uptown. Conditions on Waller include broken, pieced and misaligned sections of sidewalk, unsecure fencing, root overgrowth, ADA accessibility concerns, poorly patched sections of road, worn curbing, and lack of parking stall signage.

Funds will be used to install sidewalks, brick roadway, curbing, ADA accessibility, parking stall indicators, landscaping and outdoor seating. The engineering phase has begun.

Greenwood County was awarded $1,278,510 in CDBG funding also in December to improve the Department of Social Services building. The building needs a new roof, HVAC, improved restrooms, asbestos abatement, ADA accessibility, lobby/waiting area improvements, flooring, lighting, repainting, parking lot and safety improvements. The County has recently met with the engineer for the project.

Also in December, the Town of Ninety Six was awarded $324,600 in CDBG funding to demolish the Ninety Six Mill Village Community Center. The structure is condemned due to mold, asbestos, and unstable interior conditions.

The Town would like to use CDBG funds to demolish the structure and turn the site into greenspace. This project is in the start-up phase.

The Booker T. Washington Sewer Upgrade project in the City of Greenwood will take place on Central Avenue, North Hospital Street, Brewer Avenue, and New Street. The project went out to bid Feb. 8; bids will be opened March 13.

The City of Abbeville Structure Demolitions project includes 12 vacant and condemned houses located on 102 Brooks St. East, 106 Brown St., 412 Cambridge St. West (Lots 3, 7 & 9), 403 Poplar St.; 102 Secession Ave; and 101, 103, 106, 109 and 112 Wilson St., in City of Abbeville. Asbestos testing has been completed; project will go out to bid soon.

The City of Abbeville Chestnut Street Park project which involves purchasing playground equipment, picnic tables, etc., will go out to bid sometime this spring.

The Town of Ridge Spring Sewer Rehab project is undergoing the acquisition of right of way. Project will go out to bid once acquisitions are complete.

Construction began on the Clinton-Joanna Wastewater Treatment Plant upgrade in Laurens County in December. The completion date is expected to be around Aug. 30.

The Greenwood County Mathews Mill Sewer Phase I project construction began April 10, 2023, and will be completed this year. Mathews Mill Sewer Phase II construction is scheduled to begin March 4, with completion expected around Feb. 27, 2025.

The City of Clinton received $500,000 in CDBG funding in November 2021 for purchase of a new fire truck. Delivery date of the new truck is expected June 2024.

Town of McCormick Streetscape Phase II construction began in January 2023 with completion expected in mid June 2024. The project involves adding parking spaces behind Town Hall and construction of a Veterans Memorial.

The Town of Saluda Streetscape focuses on downtown beautification around North Main and West Church streets. The project went out to bid in October 2023. The bid award will be announced March 24.

USCOG December 2023 County-Specific Activities Report

Upper Savannah Council of Governments provides a wide scope of services and performs many functions. This activities report highlights this information and offers us the chance to regularly communicate our general activities in your county with you. Download the December report here.

USCOG November 2023 County-Specific Activities Report

Upper Savannah Council of Governments provides a wide scope of services and performs many functions. This activities report highlights this information and offers us the chance to regularly communicate our general activities in your county with you. Download the November report here.

 

 

 

News Update from Upper Savannah Council of Governments

COGs, Municipalities Can Participate in SC Air Quality Improvement Plan

The Palmetto Air Quality Collaborative (PAQC) is a 4-year planning initiative to develop innovative strategies to reduce greenhouse gases and air pollution in South Carolina.

This initiative intends to lay the groundwork for lowering air emissions, engaging communities, and supporting workforce and economic development opportunities.

The PAQC is co-led by the SC Office of Resilience and SC Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) and is funded through the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Climate Pollution Reduction Grant program.

The PAQC is encouraging potential stakeholders to provide input about emissions reduction priorities, current activities and concerns. Survey available here https://survey123.arcgis.com/share/e37dcb0870d74a6fa11481d23e19661e. However please respond by Dec. 22, 2023, to ensure your feedback is considered for the first set of deadlines.

The Priority Climate Action Plan (PCAP) is due March 1, 2024. The PCAP will include a statewide greenhouse gas inventory and proposed measures to reduce emissions and air pollution.

Implementation grant applications are due April 1, 2024. The EPA Climate Pollution Reduction Grant program is offering competitive grants for states, regional agencies, municipalities and tribes to implement reduction measures and plans.

On Aug. 16, 2022, the Inflation Reduction Act was signed into law, establishing funding for greenhouse gas planning and implementation efforts. The EPA was authorized to establish the Climate Pollution Reduction Grant (CPRG), with South Carolina being one of 46 states to accept funding. The Columbia and Greenville-Spartanburg Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs) also received funding.

Phase I of the CPRG provided states with $3 million and MSAs with $1 million. Phase II will provide $4.6 billion nationwide in competitive implementation grants. The SC Office of Resilience and SC DHEC are partnering as co-leads for this grant.

The PAQC Intergovernmental and Interagency Coordination Group is comprised of the SC Office of Resilience, SC DHEC, SC Energy Office and other state agencies. Representatives from South Carolina’s 10 councils of government, Association of Counties, and the Municipal Association will be invited to participate as well.

USCOG October 2023 County-Specific Activities Report

Upper Savannah Council of Governments provides a wide scope of services and performs many functions. This activities report highlights this information and offers us the chance to regularly communicate our general activities in your county with you. Download the October 2023 report here.

 

 

USCOG September 2023 County-Specific Activities Report

Upper Savannah Council of Governments provides a wide scope of services and performs many functions. This activities report highlights this information and offers us the chance to regularly communicate our general activities in your county with you. Download the September 2023 report here.

USCOG August 2023 County-Specific Activities Report

Upper Savannah Council of Governments provides a wide scope of services and performs many functions. This activities report highlights this information and offers us the chance to regularly communicate our general activities in your county with you. Download the August 2023 report here.

 

 

Upper Savannah Roadway Departure Safety Implementation Plan Among First of Its Kind

“The goal is that everyone gets home safely every day,” says highway safety engineer Scott Himes, who is assisting the Upper Savannah COG in a pilot project to help make rural roads safer.

The Upper Savannah Council of Governments Roadway Departure Safety Implementation Plan (RwDSIP) is currently in the development stage. It is one of the first plans of its kind to attempt to address rural roadway safety.

Carolyn Fisher, safety and traffic operations engineer with the S.C. Division of the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), said at a statewide meeting in July 2022 that because South Carolina has such a high rate of fatal accidents, the state is eligible for extra help.

Upper Savannah Government Services Director Rick Green was attending that meeting and accepted the offer.

The FHWA then hired consulting firm VHB out of Raleigh, N.C., to study rural crashes in the Upper Savannah Region of Abbeville, Edgefield, Greenwood, Laurens, McCormick and Saluda counties.

Himes is leading the study and spoke to USCOG transportation stakeholders at a meeting at the Greenwood Genetic Center Aug. 29.

“The idea is if you get in a crash (on a rural road), you will walk away,” Himes said of the intended results of the plan.

VHB is developing a plan that will likely be completed this fall for the Upper Savannah Region, which is leading the way for the state and nation.

“It will be a template that other councils of government (COGs) here in South Carolina and maybe around the country can use,” Green said. “We are among the first regions that the Federal Highways Administration has used (the others are three Department of Transportation districts in Texas).”

Himes and FHWA Safety Engineer Joseph Cheung addressed the USCOG Board of Directors on Aug. 28. Some of those same COG Board members as well as transportation planners from some other SC COGs and other transportation officials attended the meeting on the 29th.

What they learned at these meetings is that roadway departure crashes in the Upper Savannah Region are random and sporadic in location but consistent in number of accidents per year.

So Himes is recommending a systemic approach in the Upper Savannah Region, deploying countermeasures on roads with the highest risks for fatal or serious injuries whether they have commonly occurred there or not.

Countermeasures can include pavement friction treatments for better tire grip, shoulder or center line rumble strips, clear zones (an unobstructed traversable roadside area), signage, reflective signs or markings, guardrails, widening of shoulders, etc., all steps that can help drivers stay on the road.

Another discovery from the study is that 42 percent of the roadway departure crashes with death or serious injury in the Region involved unbelted drivers. “If people would just wear seat belts, forty percent of those deaths might have been prevented,” Green said.

Roadway departure safety plans tailored to other COG regions might focus more on accident “hot spots,” Himes said.

Green is eager to see the completed version of the Upper Savannah RwDSIP.

“Ultimately we will have a nice roadway departure safety plan and be able to work with local and state Department of Transportation offices to see if we can address the problems that are out there,” Green said.

USCOG July 2023 County-Specific Activities Report

Upper Savannah Council of Governments provides a wide scope of services and performs many functions. This activities report highlights this information and offers us the chance to regularly communicate our general activities in your county with you. Download the July 2023 report here.