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Proposed impact fees faces opposition

Mayor Jason Evans is advocating a go-slow approach as Pageland evaluates what is the best way to pay for government service as the town’s population grows.

Evans want to make sure the town council considers all its options.

“It could be fees, it could be through contracts or it could be a hybrid,” Evans said.

Evans want the council to take its time as it studies its options. “We have one opportunity to get this right.”

Evans’ advice comes as the town council considers charging developers “impact fees” to offset some of the cost of town services required by new residents and businesses. Pageland is on the cusp on what could-be record setting growth. The proposed development of the Laney farm property on US 601 north of town alone could double the population of Pageland.

At last week’s Planning Commission meeting, developer Greg Williams said if the proposed impact fees are adopted “you won’t have any growth.” The Chesterfield County Economic Development Office also opposed the proposed impact fees for industrial development, saying it will “price Chesterfield County out of the market…Pageland won’t get their ‘slice of the pie’ because there won’t be any new pie unless we are competitive.”

The Economic Development office noted the county is at a disadvantage with neighboring North Carolina counties. The “effective” industrial tax rate in Union County is .58% and .77% in Anson County. Chesterfield County’s rate is 2.06%.

As proposed, single-family residential and commercial businesses would pay the highest impact fees, $5,317 per house and $9,128 per business.

Revenues from the fees can fund “capital” purchases such as new fire trucks, new park land or new building construction. It can not be used for renovating current facilities or to pay salaries. The town must adopt a capital improvements plan budget and spend the impact fees within three years.

The town’s Planning Commission has recommended the impact fees.

At that meeting, the possibility a developer could purchase all of building permits needed before impact fees take place. A developer could do that but would have to start construction on the permits within six months, according to state law.

The fees are on tonight’s town council agenda. Evans does not expect a vote tonight. A first reading could be held in March, he said. With a second reading and a public hearing later in the month. The council is required to hold two readings and a public hearing before a final vote. Evans said the council may consider three readings and a public hearing before a final vote.


impact fees

Residential $5,317

Multi-family $4,822

Industrial $1,259

Commercial $9,128

Office $4,051

Institutional $2,656

There are also impact fees on water and sewer, based on the size of the pipe.

Local church pianist retires after 60 years of service

Members of Zion United Methodist Church, along with family and friends, celebrated the retirement of Catherine Williams as the church pianist after six decades of service Sunday, Jan. 29.

Williams said it has been a delightful experience playing the piano and organ for her church throughout all those years. In addition to playing for regular church services, she played for funerals and other events as well.

The 82-year old Pageland native said “things change as we get older.” She knew when it was time to “give it up.”

Williams started taking piano lessons from Ann Robertson and Esther Graves when she was in fourth grade.

“My dad really pushed me to take music,” Williams remarked. “But when I was in 10th grade, I decided I had had enough piano lessons.”

Williams’ parents, Raymond and Carrie Deason, were members of Zion. Her dad, she said, earnestly wanted her to play the piano for the church.

Williams, in turn, wanted her daughter, Reba Williams, to learn to play the piano, following in her footsteps. But after being popped with a pencil on her fingers by the music teacher, Reba decided playing the piano was not for her. Now, she says she wishes she had continued to take lessons.

During her 60 years as musician for her church, Williams has worked under almost 20 pastors.

The Rev. Carl Ritter, current pastor, said Williams has been a wonderful support musically.

“She has helped us have good worship,” Rev. Ritter remarked.

Several other comments were made during Williams’ retirement celebration about her God-given talent, devotion, commitment, and work ethic as a pianist, organist, and church worker.

Rebecca Burch, a close friend and lay speaker for the church, read a short biography she had written of Williams’ service to the church.

The following quotes were included in the biography that relate to Williams’ dedication and love for the church.

“And whatsoever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” (Biblical scripture from Colossians 3:17.)

“I play the notes as they are written, but it is God who makes the music.” (J.S. Bach)

“Next to the Word of God, music deserves the highest praise.” (Martin Luther)

Burch said that Williams was once asked if she could write a book about her musical talent, what would the title be.

She said Williams res- ponded, “Helping Others.”

Burch said the title would be “so true of Catherine.”

Joyce Mangum spoke of Williams’ work ethic.

“She’s a great organizer and hard worker,” Mangum said.

Reba, a resident of Asheville, N.C., said she loved to hear her mother play, “To Go Be the Glory.”

“She would really get wound up playing that song,” Reba said.

JE Aldridge, a member of the church, said in addition to Williams playing for the church, “you could count on a tray of brownies from her.”

Williams is married to George Davis. While Williams is a gifted pianist, she said her husband has a great singing voice.

We can only imagine that the two of them will continue to “make sweet music together.”

Remembering Robert "Mack" Nicholson, Mr. Pageland
  • Updated

Robert “Mack” Nicholson, also known as “Mr. Pageland,” will be remembered as one who loved his family, the Lord, and his town.

Nicholson died Thursday, Jan. 26, at the age of 76, while surrounded by his family. A Celebration of Life funeral service for him was held Monday, Jan. 30, at the Pageland Community Center.

During the funeral service, the Rev. Rodney Nicholson, eulogist and oldest son of Mack and Mary Ann Nicholson, said there are “precious memories” of his father that will help the family endure the sorrow of losing him.

“He wasn’t perfect,” Rev. Nicholson said. “But he was perfect for all of us.”

In his remarks to the family, Joe Crawford, a longtime friend of Mack, said “God is always in charge.”

Crawford shared brief stories of how he worked in the watermelon fields with Mack.

“Back then we had mules instead of tractors,” Crawford said. “There were some hard times, but we came up as a family.”

Matthew Nicholson, grandson, read heart-felt notes from the grandchildren to “Papa” or “Grandpa.” Hearing the messages put smiles on many faces of the congregation.

In his remarks, Matthew said his grandfather read his Bible regularly, and he did everything like he was selling a car — with much dedication and drive.

Russell Nicholson said his dad was the “Pageland version of Walt Disney.”

“He never stopped promoting his town,” Russell Nicholson said. “Come rain or shine, we would put various signs up all around town.”

Ryan Nicholson said his dad used a lot of proverbs with the brothers as they were growing up to try and “keep us straight.”

“Where there’s a will, there’s a way,” and “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” were two proverbs Ryan Nicholson remembered the most.

He said his father was like “the biggest tree in the woods.”

“There will never be another like it,” Ryan Nicolson said. “Something great has been lost in the forest.”

Granddaughter Meagan Nicholson sang “Turn Turn Turn,” by the Byrds, as she played along with the guitar. The song refers to biblical scriptures from Ecclesiastes 3:1-8, “To everything there is a season.”

In his message, Rev. Nicholson read from Psalm 23, assuring the family and friends that “we are not alone, for the Lord is our shepherd, and he will meet all of our needs.”

“Only through him are we victorious,” he declared. “It’s a good thing to work hard, but it’s more important that we know Jesus as our Lord and Savior.”

Red, white and green bows, wreaths and banners are displayed downtown by local businesses, members of the Pageland Garden Club and Historical Society, the Chamber of Commerce, and Michelle Melton as a salute to Mack for his work in bringing the Pageland Watermelon Festival back in 1982.

Among his other contributions to the town, Mack revived the Pageland Farmers Market in 1981, restored several businesses downtown, and reopened The Ball Theatre in 2016. He also made efforts to restore the Blakeney Hotel. He supported the Pageland Garden Club in their projects for the town and was a member of the Pageland Historical Society.

During his retirement celebration in September, Mack was presented a plaque honoring him as Honorary Mayor Emeritus of the Downtown Pageland Historic District.

Mack will be remembered as an avid farmer (especially of watermelons), a sharp car salesman, a successful business owner, and a faithful community leader.

He leaves to cherish his memory, his wife, Mary Ann, of 54 years; his four sons, Rodney, Jason, Ryan and Russell; his grandchildren, great grandchildren, a brother, two sisters, and many other family members and friends.