Former Conway police station comes down

Former Conway police station comes down

CONWAY, SC (WMBF) – Demolition of the old police station in the city of Conway began Wednesday.

Construction crews took down the roof Wednesday and plan to remove it from site Thursday. Friday, walls are scheduled to be knocked down, said City Manager Bill Graham.

Next week, plans are in place to remove debris.

Asbestos removal was biggest expense, costing the city about $40,000.The city used its equipment and manpower for the demolition.

The demolition of the building will allow the city extra space to grow its downtown area.

Ideas for an open air pavilion, multi-use facility for entertainment, farmers markets, music, art exhibit are still being considered by city leaders.

In the meantime, the city said it will spruce up the area around it with land-scaping to make it a town square area.

The police department used to work out of a building on Laurel Street, but now the city's police and fire departments are in a new public safety building on the other side of town.

Conway natives say it was a piece of history that was torn down on Wednesday. Cynthia Whitley, born and raised in Conway said she remember the area before the police station was built. 

"I remember when it was houses there and my aunt and uncle used to live there." Whitley recalled. " I said it was just a memory that they lived there and they were tearing it {police station} down this morning and I said this is just about to be a memory too because its gone."

While looking up the facts of the police station on her phone, something she could not do as a little girl, Whitley said she remembers when the town thought it was a big deal when the station was built.  She added, "It was changing because it was houses and people living there and then they said we're going to put the police station right up here on the corner."

Like Whitley many wonder what will happen to the area. Whitley said, "That was the question I put on Facebook,  'I wonder what it will be next?' Just guessing my husband said maybe they will put in some more parking, so maybe they will put a parking lot there I do know."

City leaders have tossed around the idea of building some type of new town square, which the city does not have since it was originally built along the river.

Blake Lanford with Clemson Extension is leading the effort to turn the old police station into a spot for a multi-use pavilion-like facility. Lanford said it would be a perfect spot to move the city's farmers market to from its current home just across the street.

“You know we think that having a space that's built to suit a market specifically for a farmers market as opposed to something built 100 years ago would certainly be a little more functional for us,” said Lanford.

In addition to being home to a newer and bigger farmers market, the city administrator said the facility could be used to add extra parking downtown and play a role in serving as a center point for the community.

If this new town square is built, Lanford believes having an expanded farmers' market would be the next step in the push to create a central food hub in the area.

“This is a space that's oriented toward retail,” added Lanford. “A hub is oriented toward wholesale distribution and we certainly see that playing a link in the chain perhaps the market becomes a service point for that hub."

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