Local farmer and businessman Mac Bailey began distributing his $500,000 gift to Chase City last week with more than a quarter of a million dollars to the Chase City EMS community. Bailey presented a check for $75,000 to the Chase City Rescue Squad, a check for $100,000 to the Chase City Volunteer Fire Department and a check to the Chase City Police Department for $100,000.
Bailey made the donations at the Estes Community Center before holding a “short” meeting with citizens over how the remaining $225,000 of the gift should be used.
Bailey told the crowd that many good suggestions had been made for projects to help the town. The hardest part for him has been in deciding how to distribute the funds. The point, said Bailey, was to do the most good for Chase City.
Bailey first announced his intention to make the half-million-dollar donation to the community almost two years ago as a debate raged whether the county should allow a large solar farm to locate on property Bailey owned adjacent to the town. At a public meet- ing, Bailey stated that if the deal went through he would donate the $500,000 to the town. After much discus- sion and debate, the Mecklenburg County Board of Supervisors voted to allow the project to move forward.
In June, Bailey hosted a community meeting at the Estes Community Center seeking input on how the donation should be spent. At that meeting, a large crowd turned out with suggestions and requests. McCallum More Museum and Gardens and Save Our Heritage, the group behind the renovation of the South Side Roller Mills and the Mecca Theater were on hand to make specific requests. Several other citizens favored seeing the money go to projects that would provide improved recreational opportunities for youth in Chase City.
Bailey made no firm decisions that night but asked citizens to step forward to serve on a committee to study the suggestions and make recommendations.
Also at that meeting, Bailey said that he planned on making donations to groups such as the fire department and the rescue squad.
Last week, Bailey asked citizens to put their proposal in writing as if they were making a business proposal and to send it to him. He also scheduled another meeting at the Estes Center on August 29, when he hopes to announce the recipient(s) of the remaining funding.
At least one resident was upset that recreation for the youth had not been adddressed. The citizen said he been excited at the first meeting, thinking that rec- reation for young people, would be high on the list of priorities.
Bailey told the group that although he had heard a lot of good uses for the money, it was not possible to
finance all of them. He explained that he wanted the gift to benefit as many people as possible.