McCOLL — The clean up of old casino structures at the state line in McColl is almost finished.
Once completed, a brick “Welcome to Marlboro County” sign will be erected at the site.
The cleanup was an initiative of Councilman Verd Odom, which started when he got elected three years ago.
“It has been a big thing for me to try to get this property cleaned up,” he said.
Like others, he didn’t like the area being the first impression people had of Marlboro County.
“The whole goal is for us to get the county looking better so it will be more attractive to people and industry that might want to move here,” he said.
The county drafted an agreement to clean up the area in return for the landowner conveying an area of land so the county sign can be erected and allow for right-of-way to access the entrance sign area for maintenance.
The county is using funds designated for the abatement of derelict mobile homes to clean up the debris of the mobile units there. The work is estimated to be around $14,500.
“This has been a three-year project. The two hurricanes we had pushed everything back,” he said. “We couldn’t get out here to do anything.”
Odom has been working with the property owner.
Last week, the county started clearing several trees alongside the road.
“It was a safety issue if you were coming off Oak Hill Road,” Odom said. “You would have to almost get out on the highway because there were so many trees grown up.
JT’s Salvage Yard of Bennettsville will tear down the three buildings on the property.
County Administrator Ron Munnerlyn said they should have the buildings down this week.
Then county officials will haul off debris and clean up the land.
“We see it as a major accomplishment,” he said. “It was an eyesore and created a negative impression of the county.”
The purchase order to have a brick and wood sign built has been signed and should be completed in the next 90 days.
“There is no nice brick ‘Welcome to Marlboro County’ sign like there is on Highway 1, Hwy 9 and Hwy 38,” Munnerlyn said.
Tentative plans include having a ceremony for the sign coincide with spring cleanup day.