County to issue bids for mill site cleanup projects


Pelzer Mills, Toxaway

By Stan Welch

The Anderson County Planning Department is preparing to issue the requests for qualifications needed to award the contracts for the cleanup projects at the Pelzer and Toxaway mill sites. The projects will be funded with a loan from the EPA, and administered by the Catawba Council of Governments.

The Pelzer project will receive a $250,000 loan, with a thirty per cent forgiveness feature, meaning that only $175,000 will have to be repaid. That repayment will come from the County general fund, with no cost to the town or the Heritage Commission. The Toxaway project will be funded by a combination loan and grant arrangement.

The Pelzer Heritage Commission, a non-profit organization, will be actively involved in the project, while the county “will do all the heavy lifting” on the Toxaway project, according to county planning director Michael Forman. That site has long been a pet project of District Two Councilwoman Gracie Floyd, and saw sporadic and ineffective efforts under the previous county administrator.

The application for the funds was submitted last week, and an answer should be forthcoming within a month, but Forman is optimistic. “The reason that we went through the Catawba COG instead of our usual funding source, which is the Appalachian COG, is because Catawba has the money available for this program. It boiled down to going where the money is.”

The RFQs, or bids, for the cleanup work will be solicited in June, and Forman anticipates an early July start, with about a month slated for the Pelzer project. The cleanup will bring the sites to a federal standard of safety that will allow for any type development except residential.

Forman indicates that the project, assuming no major obstacles, should be complete by the end of summer.