Negotiations between the Town of Fort Mill and Leroy Springs and Co. have taken a detour.
The town, citing the cost in a down economy, has declined an offer to take over a privately-held conglomeration of parks, daycare programs and other services. Fort Mill and Leroy Springs are still discussing a possible deal in which the town would acquire or run at least some Leroy Springs programs.
The centerpiece of the original proposal is the Leroy Springs Recreation Complex, valued at approximately $10 million, on the eastern edge of Tom Hall Street near Springfield Parkway.
“Fort Mill has decided not to accept our offer of the complex,” Tim Patterson, Springs’ president, told the Fort Mill Times. “We expected that Fort Mill would accept this gift. We’re disappointed that they turned us down."
Negotiations began in May, and Oct. 1 was the target date for Fort Mill to take over the Complex and the Banks Street gym near the heart of the downtown area.
Fort Mill Town Manager David Hudspeth said the town is interested in working out some sort of a deal with Leroy Springs and Co.
“We want to be involved in recreation,” Hudspeth said. “We don’t think we can afford to provide all the services that they offer. It wasn’t any one thing. It was all the cost involved. The cost of owning and maintaining the building. The cost of running all the programs. The offer to give us the building and all the programs. When you look at that in total, we didn’t have the resources to operate it as it does now.”
Patterson said the failure to finalize a deal with the town could mean layoffs for Leroy Springs employees.
“We’re going to have to make some strategic decisions about the level of services that we will be able to provide to the community,” Patterson said. “For this week, next week and next month, it’s business as usual. As we move into next year, I can’t promise that we will be able to maintain the services we’ve provided in the past. If we are forced to cut services, we may be forced to cut personnel,” he said.
For more, see the Nov. 4 print edition of the Fort Mill Times.