Pickens helps seniors in quest to improve center

PICKENS — The city of Pickens will help provide the Senior Citizens of Pickens, Inc., with a portion of the needed funds to receive a $100,000 grant to help continue renovations of the Pickens Senior Center on Hagood Street.
The organization was notified in early May that it had garnered a grant from the Lt. Governor’s Office on Aging. The grant will be used for the renovation of the community center. The only obstacle the seniors had was that the grant required a local match of $25,000.
SCOP board member John Howard spoke to the Pickens council during Monday night’s regular monthly meeting to ask for the city’s help. Howard said that the seniors had been able to raise $10,000 but hoped that council could help with the $15,000 more needed. Howard informed council that the project would include eight items to be addressed, such as renovations to bathrooms, building an overhang to keep those coming from area nursing facilities dry as they enter the building, and guttering. He added that a $15,000 investment by the city would do $125,000 worth of repairs to property they owned.
Council voted unanimously, with member Jason Cassell and Isaiah Scipio not present, to provide the funds needed. The fund would come from the city’s general fund.
In other business, council agreed to a contract that would allow the city of Liberty to take over the recycling duties for the residents of Pickens. Recycling has been handled in the past by Pickens County at a cost of about $14,000 per year. City administrator Katherine Brackett said it was more economically sound to allow Liberty to handle the duties. Liberty will collect all residential curbside material using city of Liberty resources and county inmate labor. Liberty will also collect all business cardboard, and as a result Liberty would receive 100 percent of the funds the collected recyclables will generate.
In return, the city of Pickens will agree to forfeit its share of municipal curbside and cardboard collection vehicles to Liberty, but still receive its entire portion of capital funds being held by the city of Central in the recycling account. Pickens will still be responsible for the purchase of bins and insurance to customers.
Brackett told council when considering the city of Pickens doing its own recycling, one must consider the expense of a vehicle and the expense of labor and up-keep. By saving the $14,000, it would be a wash as far as any money Pickens would make from the sale of the recyclables, she said. Council voted to accept the agreement for one year.