Easley addresses property cleanups

By Ben Robinson
Special to The Courier

EASLEY — Mayor Larry Bagwell proceeded with Monday night’s Easley City Council meeting cautiously.

The chambers were filled with residents of the community surrounding the Simpson Academy, and Bagwell wanted to make sure the citizens had an opportunity to voice their concerns.

However the group’s planned speaker was not at the meeting, as council prepared for its weekly session reserved for input from the public.

Bagwell moved on, as Jason Wilson, pastor at New Image Outreach in Easley led a prayer. The assembled residents then pledged their allegiance to the U.S. Flag.

Bagwell then moved forward with each member of council being offered the opportunity to give an update concerning the district each represented.

Council member Chris Mann reported that the city’s Bike Committee would meet Feb. 4, while council member Kim Valentin noted that the city’s Farmer’s Market committee will meet 7 p.m. Thursday.

Council member David Watson shared two sad news items.
First Watson reported that longtime Easley business Casey’s Grocery was no longer in business, as the owners have opted for a well-earned retirement. Watson also shared the news of the death of Dixie Lumber co-owner Mac Lawton Sunday.

Lawton had been a longtime leader of the Easley business community and contributed freely to several local causes. He had suffered through a battle with cancer, and finally lost the fight Sunday.

Bagwell also noted the recent passing of his friend Doug Sutton.
In the public input session, Ava O’Brien returned to complain about the lack of progress in cleaning up the Cottage Gate community.

O’Brien said she hopes to sell her property soon, but she fears potential buyers will bypass the property because of the condition of other lots in the area.

“It looks like a junkyard,” she said.

With the set speaker for the Simpson-area property owners still absent, Bagwell moved to the night’s brief agenda.

Council voted 7-0 to annex a selected piece of property into city limits, then voted 7-0 to accept roads from the Rocky Ridge Community into the city system.

With both items taken care of, Bagwell had the option of ending the meeting, but he said he hated to see so many people concerned about an issue but not receive any attention from city council.

Finally Paul Breazeale stood and volunteered to speak for the group.

“We need some way to make sure people clean up their yards in 2013,” Breazeale said. “People need to step up. There must be some way, because if you go across town, it will be clean.”
Breazeale said his friends have been complaining to city officials since 2011.

“It just makes the community look terrible,” he added.

Valentin said she remembered a previous attempt that was successful, but before too long, the messy yards were back.
“You’re walking a fine line when you’re telling somebody what they can do with their property,” Valentin said.

Valentin suggested city building official Tommy Holcombe call some of the property owners and set a clean-up day when the city would assist with removing trash from properties.

Watson said council needs to examine current ordinances, because other areas in the city are having the same problems.
“A few years ago, we had a community meeting to discuss problems like this,” Holcombe said. “Why don’t we set up community meetings, in whatever ward has this problem and let people work together to find a solution?”

Bagwell was optimistic that a solution could be found.

“We have done a pretty good job of keeping the city clean,” Bagwell said. “We just need to take the responsibility to continue to do so.”