Thursday meeting will continue Martha Dendy building redevelopment “dream big” planning
The second of two brainstorming sessions to help the City of Clinton figure out what to do with the Martha Dendy School property will be this week. Open to the public, the meeting will be Thursday, 6 p.m., at Friendship AME Church. City officials emphasize this meeting is open to anyone in any part of the city who is interested in the preservation and rehabilitation of this property. The city acquired the property from School District 56. Community Development Block Grant funds were used for demolition of the older portions of the building. Four classrooms and the gym are left, along with a large lot with an already rehabbed basketball court. There are no plans to reactivate a pool on the site. Representatives of DP3 architects of Greenville will moderate this brainstorming session. The first meeting was Jan. 20 in the council chambers at the MS Bailey Municipal Building. At that meeting, people were encouraged to “dream big,” to see Martha Dendy School as a blank slate. The crowd there expressed sentiment to have a space dedicated to the history of Martha Dendy, the Friendship School and Bell Street schools. Bell Street Middle School closed in August, and the building now is used as the District 56 transportation center. “Public input into what the citizens would like to see in the community center is important,” a city announcement said. No budget for the building rehabilitation has been set. Some money will have to be set aside for HVAC, plumbing and electrical work as vandals have entered the property and have taken materials. In May, the Martha Dendy School site was location for the city’s Take Back the Night festival, a collaboration of the community and law enforcement in promoting health neighborhoods. At the Jan. 20 meeting, DP3 representatives urged the audience to “dream big” - the building and grounds are being considered a blank slate. Anything within financial reason is possible for placement in and around Martha Dendy School. The city has not said how much money it is willing to dedicate to the project.