By Stan Welch
An area constantly straining its recreational resources has help on the way. The Pickens County YMCA has purchased twenty two acres on Highway 81 in Powdersville, and plans to build a facility as soon as fund-raising makes that possible.
Sid Collins, chief executive office of the Pickens County YMCA confirmed the purchase of the land, but added that funding needs will essentially determine the scope and design of the facility, which will help relieve the stress on the area’s recreational capacity.
Collins said that efforts to define the capital campaign to fund the project will begin after the first of the year. “It will be several months before we have our campaign and our target fully realized. We have a lot of work to do, but I anticipate a good response from the area.”
Located in one of the fastest growing areas in the state, the schools and playgrounds in the Powdersville/Wren area have outgrown their facilities. The new Powdersville High School is evidence of that growth, as is the constant use of the Hurricane Park facilities at Wren High School.
So relentless is the pressure for more recreational capacity that there has been talk of forming a special purpose tax district to raise funds. The proposal for a two per cent hospitality tax on prepared foods has found less favor, due to residents’ reluctance to fund activities elsewhere in the county with taxes raised in Powdersville.
District Six County Councilman Ken Waters, who has hosted several town hall meetings dealing with the recreational issues in the north end of the county, said that the news of the purchase of land was welcome. “Certainly, we in the county are prepared to help in any way that we can. But we are also pleased to see the private sector move into the area as well. Funding by the state and county remains tight, as you can see from the lack of development at Dolly Cooper Park. So to see another player get into the game is exciting for us.”
The County supplied a letter of support to the YMCA three months ago. The Anderson YMCA essentially ceded the area to the Pickens organization, beause of the population density and the proximity of the area to Easley.