Proposed Master Plan presented for Pelzer Monkey Park

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Approximately 40 people attended a community input meeting last Tuesday for a draft Master Plan for Timmerman Landing on the Saluda River and the Monkey Park in Pelzer.

Blake Sanders, President of Studio Main LLC, Landscape Architecture planning and design firm, presented preliminary information on plans for both parks. Residents attending the input meeting asked questions and were offered the opportunity to give their thoughts on the projects and what they would like to see incorporated into the plans.

Sanders said plans for the Monkey Park include a divided entrance, new playground, parking and access sidewalks to Wilson Cemetery and Food Lion grocery store. He said eventually sidewalks would lead along Hwy. 20 to the Saluda River where it will connect with other proposed bike and walking paths.

The plan calls for four 20×20 shelters for the park. Sanders said the shelters can be designed to fit in with what was in the Monkey Park in early years. The new shelters would be iconic to Pelzer. The current picnic shelters need an architectural upgrade, Sanders said.
Recommendtions for a new playground area include a themed playground, possibly with a zoo to fit in with the Monkey Park theme or a textile related theme, Sanders said. The community can help decide that at some point, he said. The playground structure could cost up to $500,000.

The plan also calls for a Veterans memorial which will be located away from the new playground area. The memorial would incorporate memorial bricks and be a place of remembrance.
A new parking area will include ADA accessibility.

Other facilities recommended include restrooms, picnic tables and an amphitheater. The amphitheater area would be tucked into the trees to provide shade during summer months.
There will be dedicated walking pathways to Lebby St., FoodLion and pathways that interconnect in the park.

Sanders explained the process of coming up with a Master Plan, getting public input, working on an implementation workbook, getting cost estimates and identifying short term and long term goals. Funding for the projects can come from a variety of sources.

The Master Plan program is guided by a local steering committee for recommended projects in each of the seven Anderson County Council Districts. Timmerman Landing is an Anderson County owned park while the Monkey Park is a municipal park, both located in County Council District 7. Members include County officials, elected official and administrative staff in each area.

Plans for Timmerman Landing will include additional facilities and will address safety and security for the area, Sanders said. The Master Plan for Timmerman recommends a fixed fishing pier, picnic shelter, lights and cameras and walking paths along the river. Timmerman Landing already has an ADA kayak launch, boat launch, parking and a fishing pier. It is located on the Saluda River Blue Trail which traverses from Saluda Lake in Pickens County to Lake Greenwood in Greenwood County.

Anderson County Council District Seven representative Cindy Wilson said equine trails for horseback riding are also being considered along with the sidewalks and walking trails.
“We are on a fact finding mission right now,” Wilson said. “If a project is in a plan, eventually we can get funding.”

Sanders said the proposed trails in Pelzer can connect with a larger trail network.
“Trails and greenways do transform communities,” Sanders said during his presentation.
He gave examples of Travelers Rest, Stumphouse in Walhalla and other areas where more amentities, businesses and increased traffic in the parks followed.

Pelzer Mayor Will Ragland said he was thankful for Anderson County including the Monkey Park Master Plan in the planning process. “The trail system is very important to us,” he said. “We are very excited about plans for the Monkey Park. The things we are talking about are very important.” He said by having a plan, “We are not just sticking things together.”

Sanders said they plan to have revisions and cost estimates for the two projects finalized by the end of the year.