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Volunteers, Firefighters Tackle big jobs at Old Cooper's School
web posted January 7, 2013
MERRIWETHER – Merriwether Firefighters and
community volunteers turned out on Saturday for another clean-up day at
the old Coopers School and Community Center recently gifted to the
County by the Cooper family. It was the third such effort to clear up
unwanted underbrush and other clean up inside the
back half of the building. With over 25 people showing up, most of the
work went quickly.
Along with community volunteers they included Merriwether Fire Chief
Joey Smith, County Council Vice-chair Genia Blackwell, Linda Anderson
with the Merriwether Community Coalition, and business owner Greg Hurt
with Edgefield Timber who brought a specialized piece of heavy
equipment to clear unwanted underbrush and made light work of the
Though the property was not deeded to the
county until November, the
clean-up began in early September. At that time a passerby would not
even notice the old schoolhouse due to the trees that had grown up
around the building after nearly two decades of no maintenance. (Left)
changes have been dramatic.
With all the debris out of the back section of the building
the next project will require professionals, replacing the old leaking
tin roof with a new tin roof. Mrs. Blackwell said she hoped that can be
accomplished for around $20,000 or less. "Funding is the key,"
Blackwell said. However, since the county owns the property it is
available for grant money. Blackwell and Smith inspect the progress.
However, fundraisers will be held such
as a boot drive by the Fire
Department and pleas for donations from residents and area businesses.
Workers took a break around midday to enjoy homemade chili for lunch
and then got back to work to complete the list of tasks for the day.
Most people arrived at 9 am Saturday with others coming a little later
in the morning. Volunteers worked until 4 pm with some staying to keep
a careful eye on a brush pile that was burned behind the building.
"All in all I think it was a good day,"
Chief Smith said about the
amount of work accomplished.
The next clean up day will be announced at a later date.
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