Mayor: City of Liberty working hard to continue growth in 2013

By Nicole Daughhetee
Courier Staff

LIBERTY — In the city of Liberty, which operates under the motto “where neighbors become friends,” there were many opportunities in 2012 to solidify those bonds of neighborliness.
The Liberty Festival and Events Committee in particular stayed quite busy, hosting a variety of successful events attended by large crowds of county residents.

In 2012, Liberty hosted a Spring Festival, followed by a popular six-week music series in the summer. During the fall and winter months, Liberty held a Fall Festival and Holiday Bazaar, which attracted hundreds of participants.

Similar to larger municipalities like Pickens and Easley, the city of Liberty also underwent various projects designed to improve the quality of life for its residents.

Liberty Mayor Michael Sheriff said that the major criteria that determines what projects take place in Liberty are simple: they either improve the safety of the public or the quality of life for the Liberty community.

Earning a $500,000 Community Development Block Grant (CDBG), the city embarked on a sewer restructure and development project that Sheriff says should be complete in 2013.

Along Carolina Avenue, an outdated sewer is being replaced with a new system.

In addition, as part of a $50,000 project in the TIF District, residents will no doubt benefit from other parts of the sewer system seeing an increased capacity for usage.

Rosewood Community Center, where a variety of Liberty’s activities are held, is also currently being updated.

Sheriff said that renovation projects at the Rosewood Center include stripping away old carpet and refurbishing the original hardwood floors. Outer doors are also being replaced to meet State handicap requirements, and in 2013 a lift will be installed so there is increased wheelchair access between the two levels in the Rosewood Center.

Acquiring the old Liberty High School football stadium and the Liberty Middle School Gymnasium from the School District of Pickens County allowed opportunities for Liberty to grow its recreation department and community programs.

Although opportunities for growth abounded, it was a movement in the other direction that Sheriff was most proud about over the last year.

“In 2012 we were able to cut the budget by 7 percent and we did not have a property tax increase,” he said.

Sheriff knows he cannot guarantee that 2013 will be without new taxes, but he is certainly doing everything he can to secure Liberty’s financial future.

“2012 was a very good year for Liberty,” he said.

Gazing ahead to 2013, the city of Liberty will continue to seek funding and grant monies to build upon the existing infrastructure and to continue developments and improvements city wide.

Sheriff said the city is in the process of applying for grant funding to improve Liberty’s downtown area with streetscapes and new lighting.

“We are putting all the right tools in place so we can bring more businesses downtown, contributing to economic development and growth,” said Sheriff.

With a deep personal history in the city of Liberty, Sheriff is glad to have an opportunity to improve the city he holds so dear.
“I’ve served the city of Liberty since 2001 and I’ve been mayor since 2011,” said Sheriff. “I grew up in this town and got a lot out of Liberty growing up here.

“This time is about giving back to the city of Liberty and the residents — doing everything I can to ensure public safety and quality of life.”