Pelzer Heritage Commission offers to donate river front property to town

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In a sign of good things to come for Pelzer, the Pelzer Heritage Commission has made an offer to donate river front property, that can be used for parks and trails, to the town.
Pelzer Heritage Commission (PHC) President Larry Coker made the offer Tuesday night during the Pelzer Town Council meeting. He said that the PHC would like to donate “upper mill property” along the river. The only stipulation was that the property stay in the town and be used for parks, trails and recreation.
The “upper mill property” being donated extends along the Saluda River from the Hwy. 20 bridge to where new cottages are being built and “Overlook Park”, down to the Timmerman Kayak launching facility.
Coker said the land can only be used for green space such as parks and trails. “We got grants up to $750,500 to clean up and cap the old Pelzer dump site, which is now called Overlook Park,” he said. “The property Chris Hill is building new homes on was cleared by EPA and SCDHEC.”
The property lies on both sides of the railroad and fronts the river. The West side of the property (near Hwy. 20) is being developed by Chris Hill of Craftwell Homes/Scout Realty, who plans to build nine single family homes called the Pelzer River cottages. The East side of the “Overlook Park” property will remain as green space for a park area overlooking the river. The rest of the property being donated extends south along the river to the Timmerman Kayak launch access.
Coker said the PHC, with help from Anderson County, is also applying for a $100,000 grant for the property. Coker said the PHC would provide the twenty percent match ($20,000), needed for the grant if the town accepts the property donation. “The town would become responsible for administering it,” he said. The grant deadline is Jan. 28.
“The reason we donated this property was that it was just too much for the PHC to handle,” Coker said. “The Town of Pelzer has all this heavy duty equipment to take care of the property and possibly build a park and trails down the river. It was good for us and good for them.”
Mayor Will Ragland said the town hopes to have a masterplan to connect all of the property with trails one day.
In addition to the Overlook Park and river property donation, the PHC also offered to donate up to $8,000 for improvements to Wardlaw Park, located just behind the Pelzer gym. (See Pelzer Town Council story)
Coker said after taking over the mill properties and struggling for funds for years, the PHC now “has a little money and for the first time is able to help the community out.”
Mayor Will Ragland thanked Coker and the PHC for the donations.
“I am thankful to the PHC for their generous donation and excited to work with them on the master plan, which the main component is a future trail system for the residents of Pelzer,” Ragland said.

Pelzer accepts property donation from Pelzer Heritage Commission