Candidates for Rock Hill City Council Ward 5 talk about city programs

October 9, 2013 

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    Upcoming election information:

    Rock Hill’s election will be held on Oct. 15. Polls will open at 7 a.m. and close at 7 p.m.

    The deadline to register to vote this month has passed.

    Ward 5 includes many neighborhoods along Albright Road and Saluda Street in southern Rock Hill; parts of downtown Rock Hill; homes near South Pointe High, Saluda Trail Middle, Oakdale Elementary and Sylvia Circle Elementary schools; and some neighborhoods along Crawford Road and Heckle Boulevard.

The Herald this week is publishing comments about issues facing Rock Hill from the three candidates seeking the Ward 5 seat on the city council.

Competing for the Ward 5 seat in Tuesday’s election are Nikita Jackson, a sales representative with Agape Medical Mart; Mildred A. Moore, a retired teacher and English professor; and Ann Williamson-Morrison, a retired flight attendant.

What new city-ran initiatives or programs would you support in Rock Hill or are there any you’d like to see ended?

Jackson: She thinks Rock Hill should put more focus on its “Weed and Seed” initiative instead of adding something new or removing an existing program. The program is a federally-funded strategy that targets high-crime streets to prevent violent crime, drug abuse and gang activity. Jackson worked with “Weed and Seed” for a few years. Five neighborhoods in Rock Hill are “Weed and Seed” communities: Hagins-Fewell, Sunset Park, Crawford Road, Flint Hill and South Central.

Rock Hill should add to its “Weed and Seed” activities by “making residents in the area aware of what’s going on,” she said. Rock Hill needs “better communicative relationships with the residents” in the targeted communities, Jackson said.

Moore: Land owners in Rock Hill need to be held to higher standards, she said, especially when businesses and homes are vacant and fall into disrepair. Moore would support revamping the city’s inspection process to find out whether condemning properties and demolishing unsafe and dilapidated buildings could be sped up. Empty, run-down houses can attract vandals and criminals and make a neighborhood feel unsafe, Moore said. Existing city programs that should hold property owners responsible seem to move too slowly, she said.

“Having houses that are boarded up or houses that are just standing and nobody’s taking care of it, that of course depreciates property values,” Moore said.

Williamson-Morrison: “I would like to see landlords held responsible. You either fix up or tear down,” she said. As a landlord, Williamson-Morrison said she understands the importance of meeting tenants’ needs and maintaining safe, attractive buildings. She thinks better enforcement of the city’s rules is “one way of getting our neighborhoods cleaned up,” she said. And, protecting the look of a commercial area such as Saluda Street would be more inviting for new businesses, she said.

“If your property is vacant, you still have a responsibility to take care of that property because homeowners and renters have a right to be in a neighborhood that looks good,” Williamson-Morrison said.

Anna Douglas •  803-329-4068

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