PICKENS COUNTY — Twelve Mile River and Lake Hartwell will soon have new access points in the county thanks to two projects enacted by Pickens County Council.
The recreational parks, which will be located on Norris Highway and Madden Bridge Road, are estimated to cost nearly $2 million but council members say the cost will be mostly funded by the Lake Hartwell Natural Resource Damages Settlement.
The Lake Hartwell Natural Resource Damages Settlement compensates for contamination of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) that were dumped into the river by a manufacturing plant years ago.
“This should cover nearly $1.5 million of the project, leaving roughly $400,000 in uncovered expenses,” county officials said. “Pickens County is seeking the remaining $400,000 grant from the Appalachian Regional Commission.”
One part of the property is slated to be used as a put-in spot for kayaking through the Twelve Mile River Gorge, with a take-out spot five miles downstream. Picnic facilities, lake boating and fishing access, possible outdoor recreation stores and walking trails between the two different locations round out the construction plans.
“I am excited for the people of Cateechee who were affected by the PCBs,” said County Councilman Trey Whitehurst. “It is good that clean-up funds from the Lake Hartwell Natural Resources Damages Settlement will bring this project to the Cateechee area.”
Pickens County seized a portion of the proposed park property through eminent domain after the county claimed that the owner “failed to honor a signed contract for purchase between the parties.”
The county’s ownership became final when the property owner failed to file a legal challenge within the time period mandated by state law.
“The Cateechee Beach and Madden Bridge Project is great news for Pickens County,” said Councilman Neil Smith. “The fact that the majority of the funding is coming from the PCB Settlement Fund is proof that the settlement money is being spent on areas that were originally impacted by the PCB’s.”
The park will be free to the public once construction is completed.
Reach Kasie Strickland at 864-855-0355.