Ware Shoals, sadly, might land the moniker "Warlick's Folly."
While the town - finally and wisely - dissolved its relationship with Frank Warlick, the man who spewed lofty but empty promises of filling a renovated Ware Shoals Inn and landing a for-profit occupant to breathe new life into historic Katherine Hall, the man's legacy of doing the town wrong lives on.
The Ware Shoals Inn is not a thriving retirement community, and Katherine Hall remains dormant, facing the very real possibility of being torn down. The Laurens County YMCA is not moving into a portion of Katherine Hall, and Sykes is not moving its large call center from Greenwood Mall into the historic but shuttered building. As it stands, no business was or likely is going to occupy Katherine Hall.
As if that sad situation is not enough, it turns out Warlick signed a promissory note, an agreement between he and Ware Shoals Development Corp., for $25,000. The note was designed to absolve the town of liability during the inn's renovation and was needed before the town would move forward on work on the inn with Warlick and Kasper Mortgage Capital.
In short, it is very real money (with interest) owed the town. When it comes due in September of next year, Warlick will owe the town nearly $29,000. It stands about as much chance of seeing that money as it has of Warlick magically appearing with a for-profit occupant for Katherine Hall. Actually, it has about as much chance of seeing that money from Warlick as the Saluda River has of flowing north.
As the old country saying goes, "You can't get blood out of a turnip," so it is not even likely a lawsuit filed on behalf of the town would result in even half that amount being paid.
Ware Shoals has had to cut its losses before, very recently with respect to the clearing of waste and debris from the old Riegel Mill site. It is poised to do so yet again.
And that is a shame. It is a shame those charged with running the town's business and overseeing its best interests did not do a better job. If there is any takeaway from all of this, let us hope it is that current and future leadership will have learned a valuable lesson and will not let the townspeople be duped again, the town's treasury dwindled by poor oversight.
Competition does world of good
Whether the City of Greenwood won or the county came out the victor is of no real matter or consequence; what truly matters is both did their part to collect and donate much-needed food supplies to three area nonprofits.
Thanks to the good-natured competition between the city and county in an after-Christmas food drive, more than 5,000 pounds of food will make its way to the shelves of the Food Bank of Greenwood County, Greater Greenwood United Ministry and the Soup Kitchen.
County Councilwoman Edith Childs does a great job in organizing this annual event and it is heartening to see the end results. That 5,000 pounds of food is more than the sum total of a competition; it is representative of thousands of meals that will make all the difference to many needy people in the county.