It cost more than expected, but York County is willing to pay for property to complete a much anticipated intersection improvement in Fort Mill.
York County Council unanimously approved a $1.43 million purchase agreement with Kanawah Farms, LLC for just more than 11 acres where Fort Mill Parkway meets Spratt Road. An intersection improvement is planned there to complete the Fort Mill Southern Bypass projects from past Pennies for Progress campaigns. Design is about 70 percent complete.
The project will include a pedestrian tunnel with the county and Kanawah splitting the cost. The $1.43 million wasn’t budgeted into the cost for the project, approved by county voters in 2011. The cost is “significantly higher” than what the county expected, since the property recently was annexed into Fort Mill as part of the larger Spratt property which will bring thousands of homes and new business.
The zoning change from industrial to commercial upped the price tag. But, Pennies director Patrick Hamilton told Council, the land for right-of-way is critical to the intersection improvement.
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“Absolutely,” he said. “The project will not happen if we don’t purchase this property.”
Though the bypass isn’t yet five lanes, right-of-way to expand that far was purchased throughout, including the latest sale.
“We are purchasing five lanes of right-of-way through here to coincide with the rest of the Fort Mill bypass project,” Hamilton said.
The sticker shock could be lessened somewhat for the county in the future. The road only will take about half the land, leaving prime commercial real estate likely on a corner lot.
Councilman Chad Williams said it only makes sense to set aside and market “a nice corner lot people would pay a lot of money for.”
“You could build all kind of stuff on an old road bed,” he said. “Very valuable piece. Hopefully that’s something we pursue.”
Councilman Michael Johnson is a former member of the Fort Mill School Board. The school district recently opened a new Riverview Elementary School just beside the intersection, along with athletic fields on property it owns. Johnson said the county needs to communicate with the school district, which has worked under the impression they would get land at the spot the county is purchasing.
“I’ve heard those discussions,” Johnson said. “In fact I’ve had those discussions.”
The county purchasing the property is a needed move, he said. Since the bypass opened in full from that spot up to Springfield Parkway, traffic at the intersection has been a concern. Elected officials have worked with state department of transportation officials on signal timing and other issues to help keep cars flowing.
“We certainly need to buy this,” Johnson said.
“You’ve got to build this road. I think we need to have a conversation with the school district and let them know what we’re doing and how that impacts them.”