Anderson County to apply for Duke Energy water resources grant

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For Timmerman access

Anderson County Council recently approved a request to apply for a just under $100,000 grant from the Duke Energy Water Resources Fund which will fund several improvements to the Dr. James A. Timmerman, Jr. Access on the Saluda River in Pelzer, if approved.

Scheduled improvements to the facility, located at 15 Capers Street, will include: installation of an ADA-accessible kayak launch, construction of a 650-foot shoreline access trail, and general parking lot improvements. The Timmerman Access is owned and operated by Anderson County.

Project planners describe the primary geographic area to be served by this project as being a 50-mile radius around the Timmerman Access. Approximately one million people live within the area, and officials expect that the Timmerman site’s easy access to I-85, combined with the accessibility improvements, will make it an attractive destination for kayaking enthusiasts. Also, the project’s provision of improved access to 650 feet of shoreline on the Saluda is expected to appeal to anglers, wildlife watchers, and those seeking more passive recreational interests.

As demonstrated by the growing popularity of the Saluda River Rally, Anderson County and the Saluda River have become a go-to destination for kayakers. Organized by the Anderson County Parks Department, this two-day annual event has grown in attendance from 30 participants in 2010 to more than 150 in 2014. The attendees come from all over the southeast, and most regions of the nation are represented at the event each year.

County officials believe that the Saluda River Blue Trail will spur economic activity in the towns and communities along the 48-mile Saluda River Blue Trail. The improvements at the Timmerman site in particular are expected to provide an economic boost to the towns of Pelzer, West Pelzer and Williamston, as well as the community of Piedmont.

In October 2012 county leaders celebrated the opening of an ADA-accessible fishing pier constructed as an Eagle Scout project by Ben Otto Sunderman. In addition to providing local residents with increased access to the Saluda River, county officials also see the improvements at Timmerman to be a key component of the Saluda River Blue Trail.

A consortium of public recreation providers, private sector interests, recreational enthusiasts, advocates for the physically-challenged, environmental groups, and individuals has formed a vision plan for the Blue Trail along the Upstate South Carolina portion of the Saluda River. The blue trail will enhance recreational access for kayakers and others in the six Upstate South Carolina counties bordering the Saluda River, including Abbeville, Anderson, Greenville, Greenwood, Laurens, and Pickens Counties.

The six-county collaboration and public/private partnership represent a regional effort to promote and preserve our local natural resources by creating river access and resource awareness. The improvements at Timmerman Ramp, combined with recent improvements at Anderson County’s Dolly Cooper Park in Powdersville, will allow for the establishment of a 9-mile component to anchor Phase One of the Saluda River Blue Trail. In June of 2012, the county opened the state’s first ADA-compliant kayak and canoe ramp at Dolly Cooper Park.

The funds sought by the county for the Timmerman Access are awarded through the Duke Energy Water Resources Fund. Announced in September of 2014, the $10 million Water Resources Fund will be used to benefit waterways across North Carolina and South Carolina. The fund will also be used to improve waterways downstream from Duke Energy operations that flow into neighboring states. A decision on the grant is expected in February.

Timmerman Access Master Plan