Rivers Bridge State Park open for business

Despite erroneous television news reports that it would be closed down because of a budget stalemate, John White the new Ranger in Charge at Rivers Bridge State Park informed Ehrhardt Town Council members at their April 19, meeting the park is open and he has plans to make it even better.

“We’re still there,” White said. "The park is still there. The park is not going to close. I hope this will translate into business for you down the line.” In fact, White and his wife, who live in Wateree, said they have fallen in love with the town of Ehrhardt and would like to retire there. “This is my last job; I’m not going anywhere else.”

Ranger White said a picnic area is available at the park, a nature trail and tours of the battle field can be arranged. White said he wanted to open the museum at the park and recognize all the people that fought there by opening up a memorial and visitors center. He also said he was open to arranging programs and demonstrations with Boy Scout Troops.

“I serve a diverse set of people in this state. I try to make tours unbiased, White added.” “We’re happy to have you in this community. We hope you will stay here,” Mayor Bill Stanley told White.

Also during the meeting:

• Ehrhardt Town Council members discussed implementing a policy on the use of the Ehrhardt Auditorium at their April 19 meeting. Council members are using the policy the City of Bamberg uses to rent out the Bamberg Civic Center as a guide. It was noted that the City of Bamberg does not charge nonprofit organizations for using the civic center with other groups charged $300 to rent the building plus a $150 deposit, which is refunded if the building is left clean.

In discussing the policy on nonprofits using the Ehrhardt Auditorium Mayor Stanley noted that the town’s insurance premium is 60-70 percent higher now than it was a year ago. And the town has to pay a $25,000 premium per year for liability insurance.

“We’re not in a position to have the auditorium be a liability,” Mayor Stanley said. “Would our liability cover a law suit if we were sued?” Council member Bennie Hughes said “we’ve got a building that needs to be used.” Council member Bill Edinger suggested that groups wanting to use the auditorium be required to show proof of insurance before renting, adding “we’re not in it to make a profit."

Ehrhardt Town Administrator Kathie Stroman said the town needed to “make sure the fees charged cover the cost of maintaining the building”. Mayor Stanley asked Council member Bill Edinger to check on what is a reasonable fee to charge for the use of the auditorium (to be voted on by council) and check on the Town’s liability insurance.

• Further in the meeting, Public Safety Chief Chad Dilling reported the fire department responded to two fire calls since last month and the police department had a “busy couple of months” creating 11 case files including: an abandon 99-year person, assault, DUI and two juvenile problems.

• Council members heard report from Councilman Hughes the town had received a bid for $3,200 for a hood at the ball park and deep fryer would cost between $200-500. Council members agreed to send representative Sellers a letter seeking a PARDs Grant.

• It was noted in the public works department report for the month of March the Town collected $10,356.32 with 10 customers’ service being terminated. And for the month of April $10,080.52 was collected with no customers being cutoff to date in April.