ABBEVILLE — The first batch of small business grant winners were announced at Tuesday night’s city council meeting.
“A lot of times people think that we don’t support small business or business period, but this is evidence that we do,” said Mayor Delano Freeman, “so I hope that the word will get out and everybody knows that Abbeville is an industry-friendly city.”
Mike Clary, the city’s community development director, said that each of the four awardees had received about $10,000.
“This has been a Godsend to me,” said award-winner Darrell Brown, of Brown Insurance Agency, who used his existing business grant for building renovations.
Paige Bowser, of Breezy Quarters, said the money had allowed her to renovated a recently purchased property on Church Street, the grand opening of which is Saturday morning.
Abbeville invited business owners to apply for four different grant options: one for new businesses, two for existing businesses, one for energy efficiency improvements and another for historic district building improvements. Clary said five businesses had applied, but one did not meet the criteria for the energy efficiency grant, which was not awarded.
The other awardees were Legends Hair Studio’s Monica Leach, who received the new business grant, and Shelley Reid, who received the historic building improvement grant.
In other business:
— The city will change the sign that welcomes visitors to Wilson Hill Park. The bottom of the sign will now include a line that says, “Dedicated to Augustus E. ‘Gus’ Wilson III.” Gus Wilson died in March.
Council members amended the year’s budget to account for a FEMA grant that will pay for new equipment for firefighters and a grant from a theater in Atlanta that will pay for the repair of the Abbeville Opera House roof.
Two banks, Abbeville First and South State, bid for the financing of the city’s $350,000 hydroelectric plant walkway project. The council unanimously voted to award the bid to South State, despite councilman Chris Crawford’s desire to support its local competitor. City manager Blake Stone said the council was bound by its own procurement policy to approve South State’s bid given its lower interest rate.
Stone told the council he is seeking alternative solutions to a gang of vultures attracted to a dumpster on McGowan Avenue. A city review found that an enclosure protecting the dumpster from the vultures would not be feasible. The city is instead considering installing security cameras and imposing fines on people “improperly throwing their garbage away.”