BAMBERG, S.C. (WJBF) — It not only devastated the downtown area of Bamberg, South Carolina but also the folks living in the community when a massive fire overtook several buildings in March of 2019.
“We will move on and we’ll get it cleaned up. I don’t know if we will rebuild but we’ll make something out of this project,” Bamberg Mayor Nancy Foster told NewsChannel 6’s Shawn Cabbagestalk at the time of the fire.
Now a new day in Bamberg because cleanup has finally begun.
Bamberg County officials had to work with state and federal officials to get deeds to the five spots where the buildings stood due to federal tax liens.”It was just a long tedious process, you know, going through the land commission, obtaining the property and then after that, having to go to the federal government, the IRS to ask them if they would forgive the lien for the County since it was now our property,” Bamberg County Chairman Trent Kinard said.
It took a little bit of elbow grease from several guys from the City and County to get the area where it is now. They kickstarted the task Monday, December 16. “We brought crews in here to tear down all the debris. We had a bunch of metal, bunch of rocks everything is rubble when it burns,” Kinard recalls.
Dirt and an old bank vault are the remnants of the blaze. Kinard says that crews will take jackhammers to tear up the concrete as early as the week of December 23. “They’ll pull out the casing of the door and that’ll be a wrap,” he said.
The property, for the time being, will become a green space. “You can never have enough green space in a City. A lot of times you just got buildings and things of that nature. There’s never a place where somebody could go maybe walk their dogs. There’s a lot of possibilities for this,” Kinard shared.
A streetscape project is now within reach since the mess is almost moved. “The City of Bamberg and Bamberg County have jointly come together to do a streetscape, master plan. We are going to see many things hopefully that we’re able to do downtown that we may not be thinking of at this time. This property itself at first is going to be a green scape property. You’ll see a nice green area landscape. Beautiful. And it’s gonna really look good for the City of Bamberg,” he added.
The project should be completed in about three to four months.
“I mean we even could probably put a museum here or something. In the future, join it up with the next building over and you may see a museum, but that would be far off,” Kinard added.