‘We’re worth saving,’ says Nichols leader in fight to rebuild community

Marion County officials are looking to bring more help to the town of Nichols.

NICHOLS, SC (WBTW) – Marion County officials are looking to bring more help to the town of Nichols.

Residents definitely weren’t going to let a little rain keep them from coming out to a needs assessment meeting at Nichols Town Hall Monday night intended to get them a little closer to recovery.

“A lot of people in their lifetime will never see the devastation that most of these families have endured,” said Sandy Rogers, Nichols town administrator.

Rogers wasn’t surprised to see the large crowd for Monday’s meeting. The meeting is an annual event so county leaders can get a grasp on the most urgent needs county-wide, but this year was a little different.

“With the flood, it brings a whole other realm to the words ‘recovery’, and ‘needs assessment’,” Rogers said.

During the meeting, residents were asked to fill out several forms, including a survey where they could list what they needed most to recover from Hurricane Matthew.

“Even if they had not had the flood they would be doing this meeting,” Rogers explained. “To help with CDBG grants, infrastructure grants, and things to help Marion County better itself.”

CDBG, or community development block grants, are used to help counties and cities improve areas that need immediate help like roads and bridges, or needed construction.

“That recovery process is slow,” said Rogers. “It’s gonna take still some time. We’ve got a lot of teams out there working.”

Palmetto Disaster Recovery, a group formed by South Carolina Disaster Recovery Office to conduct disaster case management for South Carolina citizens affected by Hurricane Matthew, is on the ground now in Nichols assessing homes so construction can begin.

Margaret Tart, who had to leave her home by boat at the height of Matthew’s record rainfall, said work on her home should start soon.

“They’re coming to my house Thursday, so they’re working really fast,” Tart said. “You have to give them a lot of information but they’re doing a really good job.”

“It’s going to take a lot of concerted effort and a lot of funds to get these people back at home,” Rogers said.

Residents also filled out forms describing their family’s income to demonstrate need as money like the $52 million Congressman Tom Rice got for the area is distributed. Last week, the town of Nichols also asked for $700,000 from the state of South Carolina to help the town recover.

“We will get back on our feet and we will be self-sufficient, but it’s going to take help from others to get there,” Rogers explained. “We’re worth saving.”

If you weren’t able to make it to Monday’s meeting, here are some important contacts:

To make an appointment for an assessment with Palmetto Disaster Recovery, call 1-888-860-7137

If you have a question for Marion County Grants Administrator Ogleretta Davis, call 843-275-6065.