Fort Mill Times

Federal aid:

TEGA CAY -- A dispute over the planned route of Hubert Graham Way delayed the start of the Pennies for Progress project and led to the city asking to take over the project. Now, a request for federal funding could hold it up for another few months.

Tega Cay sent an appropriations request to U.S. Rep. John Spratt's office seeking $1,376,312 for the road, which will connect the Stonecrest development with Gold Hill Road, just north of the city's entrance. City and York County officials have also expressed interest in extending the road from Gold Hill to Zoar Road or Youngblood Road, near the state line. The request was made Friday, Feb. 29 - the last day they were accepted for this year.

Part of Hubert Graham Way has already been built by Stonecrest developer Herman Stone and Wal-Mart, which opened March 7. It currently ends in a cul-de-sac off Stonecrest Boulevard. Tega Cay and Stone will split the cost of crossing Nivens Creek near the LakeShore development.

The city's request is for help with the creek crossing, according to Mayor Bob Runde. The request also identifies $1.2 million in local matching funds for the project.

"This is one of our top requests," Spratt spokesman Chuck Fant said Monday.

Spratt's office submitted the project for funding this week, but Fant said it will likely be several months before his office hears anything more on it.

The York County Pennies for Progress program was supposed to pick up the $1.5 million tab to take the road from the creek crossing to Gold Hill Road. However, the route proposed by CME, the firm that conducted all the initial engineering studies for the project, led to a dispute with homeowners in Palmetto Plantation and city leaders on one side, and CME and the county on the other. Tega Cay has since requested permission from the county to take over that phase of the project as well so it can avoid going through Palmetto Plantation.

"We have all the paperwork but it hasn't been finalized yet," Runde said. "We're waiting to get the funding in place before we move forward."

If the city is able to get funding, the road would likely go through some property at the end of Lakeland Trail Drive. CME's proposed route would have taken the road through the backyards of at least two Palmetto Plantation homeowners.

"If we do it, it won't go through Palmetto Plantation," Runde said.

The possibility of extending the connector from Gold Hill Road to Zoar or Youngblood would be a separate issue, Runde said. And there is a possibility that a developer may end up building the road. Mike Thomas, president of a company called Thomco, is contemplating a 122-acre development adjacent to the city and may request annexation in the coming months. The entrance to his project happens to line up with the end of Hubert Graham Way, Runde said.

"The county and the developer would need to coordinate on that."

Even if the funding for all phases of Hubert Graham Way, excluding the extension to Youngblood or Zoar, is secured, Runde said no one should expect it to be completed anytime soon.

"By the time we get all the permits, I think we're looking at a couple of years to get it finished," he said.