Anderson County approves “blueway access” property purchase in Piedmont

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By Stan Welch
Anderson County extended its commitment to the Saluda River Blueway Tuesday night, as the County Council approved two major projects that will improve access to the waterway.
One of the projects involves the purchase of approximately 28 acres behind the dam at Piedmont. It’s the former Metromont/Cemex site. The land will be used for the placing of an ADA compliant kayak launch, and parking. The cost of the land is three hundred twenty five thousand dollars. The actual launch is already constructed and owned by the county.
County Councilman Jimmy Davis, who represents District Six, was instrumental in bringing the deal to fruition. “Piedmont is the center of a great deal of interest for investors and developers right now. The county feels that this investment will encourage, if not accelerate, that interest. The value of this river as a resource on so many levels cannot be overstated.”
An additional three hundred and fifty thousand dollars will be spent in upgrading the ADA compliant kayak launch and the surrounding access to it for the Dolly Cooper site in Powdersville, also in Davis’s district. In addition, a hardened walking trail will be constructed that will follow the riverbank for the entire distance of the park site. The latest projects will allow kayak, canoe and innertube access to an 8.5 mile stretch of river. For those willing to portage around the dam at Piedmont, they can then travel downstream to the landing at Pelzer. Once below the Pelzer dam, they can travel all the way to the new kayak landing at Belton.
County Administrator Rusty Burns pointed out that the cost of the projects will not result in any increase in taxes, since a combination of accommodation taxes, grants and the proceeds of the TTI building in Pickens county were used. That property was transferred to the county at no cost.
“The presence of the Saluda River continues to grow in Anderson County, and its impact on the economy does as well,” said Burns. “The increased access and facilities are making the Anderson blueway more and more of a sportsmen’s destination.”

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