PICKENS — A new attraction is coming to Hagood Mill thanks to a sizable grant approved by the state for the construction of an Appalachian Culture Center.
H. Dean Watson, event coordinator and fundraiser for the mill, said the $130,000 grant was the culmination of many years work.
“I’ve been working on this (grant) for the past three and a half years,” Watson said. “The county started it and we’re hoping they (the county) will put money with it.”
Watson said that although the grant money will cover a significant portion of the expected costs for the construction of the Appalachian Culture Center, it won’t pay for it all.
“It’s not a matching grant or anything, it’s not required,” he said. “But we’re going to need the county to help to finish the cost.”
The new center, which was referred to by Watson as a “major structural addition to the site for performance and dance” is designed to gives mill visitors a place to enjoy the various shows and performances out of the elements.
“On a rainy day, we will have 500 people out to see what’s going on,” said Watson. “But when the weather’s like that, they’ll leave.”
The grant, which was presented today (Saturday) by Rep. Davey Hiott, comes almost in conjunction with an ordinance put forth by county council that would establish The Hagood Mill Foundation, a non-profit organization.
Second reading of the ordinance is currently on the agenda for county council meeting scheduled for Monday.
When asked how the establishment of the mill foundation would affect daily operations, Watson said he was just going to wait and see.
“I think it can be helpful if it’s handled right and I hope it will be,” he said. “I don’t really have an opinion one way or another on the matter right now.”
Watson said no matter how the foundation worked out, the mill would go on — starting up their Summer sessions with bluegrass and a banjo extravaganza.
“We’re here the third Saturday of every month,” he said. “And we’ll have fresh cornmeal all ready for you.”
Reach Kasie Strickland at 864-855-0355.