The Reason for Selling Tallwood Homes
The year was 1974. Bailey Bank was where the municipal building now stands. Industrial supply was doing business all over the southeast. Copeland Plaza was not even built yet. Torrington was a major industry in our community. A lot has changed since 1974.
It was also the year that eleven of our local leaders rightly saw a need for affordable senior housing for the citizens of Clinton. They formed the Clinton Senior Housing Authority, Inc.. Their purpose, as stated in their certificate of incorporation was: to acquire, construct, provide, and operate rental housing and related facilities suited to the special needs and living requirements of eligible occupants as determined by the Farmers Home Administration regulations, without regard to race, color, creed or national origin.
With this certificate of incorporation and financing from the Farmer’s Home Administration, the group set about to construct Tallwood Homes. In case you are not familiar with Tallwood Homes, they are the apartments located behind Subway and Young World Day Care.
For many years, the city operated the apartments and learned that the city really was not equipped to handle the day to day operation of running an apartment complex. This became more magnified as the complex began to age and require a level of upkeep that the city couldn’t provide adequately. Keep in mind that these apartments were non-profit, and always have been. The city owned and operated 39 apartments which made no money operating. It also collected no taxes on them either, since they were city owned. For this reason, the city determined years ago to allow a private company to manage these apartments.
In 2010, council discussed whether the city should own these apartments or sell them to someone who could professionally manage them. It was decided to pursue the sale of Tallwood Homes on the condition that the original purpose of providing affordable housing to senior citizens would be required of the new owner. Once this requirement was satisfied, council made the decision to move forward with the sale of Tallwood Homes. The purchaser already owns and operates multiple apartments for senior citizens not only in this city, but throughout the state of South Carolina, and has also been the operator of Tallwood Homes for as I’ve been on council (since 2009).
However, the wheels of progress in state and local government don’t rotate as fast as we would like to see. This deal has been discussed for over seven years, and is a direct reflection of the dedication and perseverance of our city council. The apartments could have demanded a higher price than what we are selling for, but the purchaser has agreed to operate them in the same manner that they’ve always been operated: affordable, senior citizen housing. This is what the original intention was, and this is how they will stay.
What might the city do with the proceeds of the sale? Council determined last year that the proceeds will be put into a revolving economic development fund to be used for economic development projects within our city. A revolving fund is money that is used on one project that council members feel will be profitable enough to return the money spent on the project of the revolving fund, and therefore be available for the next project.
By the time you read this, council will have already met on Monday, July 24, and voted for the sale of Tallwood Homes. This is a great deal for not only Tallwood Homes and its residences, but also for the citizens of Clinton, especially those who want to see our city continue to move in the direction we are currently headed. Never in my 45 years have I seen as much activity and money being spent on buildings old and new and business recruitment as we are currently seeing. Our council hopes to continue doing everything we can to move our city forward, and this is just another piece of that large puzzle.
As always, if you have any questions, feel free to call me at 864-380-5176. I look forward to hearing from you.
(Bob McLean is mayor of Clinton.)