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Jail, Scout Motors, new 911 center, proposed development: Here's what happened at Tuesday's Richland County Council meeting

Several key items were on the agenda for the council.

RICHLAND COUNTY, S.C. — Tuesday night's Richland County council meeting, lasting around two hours was full of big ticket items. 

Namely, updates about the Richland County jail renovations and 911 center. Plus, talk about the Wilson Boulevard proposed development and the Scout Motors project. 

Leonardo Brown, the county's administrator told News 19 after this meeting that he didn't provide an update during the meeting about the jail even though it was on the agenda because of the timing of the SC Department of Corrections' reply letter Monday and the agenda was already released. Plus he explains he hasn't had time to thoroughly read through the reply letter yet. 

But that didn't stop council from asking a question.

"It's not taking a year to do all the locks, is it? Are they started now to change or where are we on that part of the project?," asked Don Weaver, district six council member. 

To which Brown replied that the locks in the jail will take several months to install, hopefully finishing in early 2024. 

In response to the letter from the SC Department of Corrections, Brown tells News 19 the county is continuing to put more funding and resources toward recruiting and retention at the jail, with plans to have a director hired in around 30 days. 

Brown also spoke about the topic of jail food. 

"In our response to the Department of Corrections, we cited that DHEC had actually been back to the facility multiple times and gave us increased satisfactory grades," Brown said.

Next was the 911 center update, with construction starting next month, completing late next year and costing over $47M.

"The problem is it's in too many different locations and it's an antiquated building and we're hoping by taking advantage of the Columbia Mall, which the county owns a good bit of now, there's plenty of parking out there, it's good access, it's centrally located, close to highways, it'll be easy for employees to get there and so we're thinking it's a better fit," Weaver said.

A request to rezone property for a development on Wilson Boulevard was approved unanimously. 

As for Scout Motors, a new joint development multicounty park agreement between Fairfield and Richland will mean shared expenses and revenues. 

"It's not so much landing the big fish so to speak, Scout Motors. It's all the little fish that come with it. Because they're going to need a lot of suppliers and this is why this joint cooperation with Fairfield County is going to be good for the citizens of Richland, because it's going to bring jobs in and those folks coming from Fairfield County even to work will be spending money here in Richland County," Weaver said.

According to the Richland County administrator, he plans to thoroughly review the reply letter from the State Department of Corrections in the coming days and explains he will let the public know of his response before Richland County council meets again.    

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