Fort Mill Times

Fort Mill in serious talks on taking over the Leroy Springs and Co. Recreation Complex

The town is in serious negotiations with Leroy Springs and Co. on a proposal that could see that town take over a conglomeration of parks, daycare programs and other services.

“They want to give the town the recreation complex and the services they provide,” Town Manager David Hudspeth said of Leroy Springs and Co. during a council workshop Saturday morning. “They want to lease the baseball field, soccer field, tennis court and Banks Street gym.”

In addition to that offer – announced last Thursday – Leroy Springs and Co. also wants to give the town other property it owns.

But that’s not all.

Town leaders Saturday also discussed a proposal by Springs Industries to have the town lease popular Walter Elisha Park on North White Street. It’s where the town has held its Springfest event the last two years. Wisconsin-based Springs Industries used to be part of the Fort Mill-based Springs manufacturing company now known as Springs Global.

Leroy Springs and Co. is a nonprofit entity that is separate from Springs Global, although the two are linked by the family that created both.

A major part of the discussion about the Leroy Springs and Co. offer is how to handle the childcare programs run at the complex.

“A big piece of this is the preschool and FLYERS programs,” Hudspeth said. “They’ve indicated that they’d like to keep that going. I think we would want to take everything.”

The proposed recreation complex donation is complimented by a projected 10-year field lease.

“We’re making a decision to commit to providing recreational services for prosperity,” Mayor Danny Funderburk said.

Councilman Ken Starnes added, “You don’t want to look a gift horse in the mouth, but that’s a tremendous expense for the town.”

Yet, town leaders said, expenses relative to the plan can be factored into next year’s budget as the town works to seal its deal with Leroy Springs and Co., which also manages several golf courses in town and the Anne Springs Close Greenway

“We’re excited,” Tim Patterson, Leroy Springs and Co. president and chief executive officer said. “The town has been growing rapidly. We are not in a position to grow our programs. We are just not financially there.

“It’s time to turn it over and start working on the greenway and other projects,” Patterson added. “We look forward to continuing to partner with the town. Our goal has always been and will continue to be to serve the community.”

Although the announcement was made last week, Leroy Springs and Co. and the Town of Fort Mill have been talking for about three weeks, town leaders said.

For more, see the May 20 print edition of the Fort Mill Times