EDITORIAL: A Red-Letter, Bring Shovels Day
Nobody pays any attention to infrastructure, until ...
The water turns brown.
The lights won’t come on.
The stuff is bubbling up out of the ground.
The roads look like gator-skin.
There’s potholes everywhere.
Lots of times, when those things happen, it’s already too late for a quick-fix. It takes money. And vision. And, sometimes, patience.
And that - patience - is what it has taken an over-abundance of for the Laurens County Water & Sewer Commission to place shovel in ground on a chilly Thursday - they didn’t want to wait for winter?! - and break ground for what will be, at build-out, a $52.5 MILLION project. It is “the future of water in Laurens County,” according to a LCWSC announcement.
Having a water plant on Lake Greenwood has been envisioned for a decade, and actively planned for six years. It makes perfect sense. We get water from Greenville Water System to the north, Laurens Commission of Public Works in the middle, the City of Clinton Department of Public Works in the east. In the south, nothing.
A place where there is growth potential. Nothing.
Yes, there are small campgrounds and weekend homes, Camp Fellowship and the DNR - and all those are great - but Lake Greenwood’s potential is far from “tapped” when it comes to Laurens County. Heck, we finally got a sign.
Connect Lake Greenwood has made a lot of things happen - there’s Break on the Lake, a potential housing development there, lights on the bridge, “street signs” - and LCWSC has led the way in developing partnerships with our friends across the water. The commission needed Greenwood County’s blessing to put a water plant on the lake that county owns. LCWSC had to design carefully - Greenwood County gets its water from Lake Greenwood, too. What if there’s a drought?
Finally, it has all come together. This is the project, By the Numbers:
- $52.5M total project costs
- $8.7M Total Grant Funds
- $2.5M LCWSC Funds
- $41.3M USDA low interest loan
No further Rate Increases required to fund project. (Info: LCWSC)
In Laurens County, there will be a 500,000-gallon elevated tank constructed at Milam Road and Hwy 72. Two booster pump stations will be installed. Part of the water will travel along Hwy 72 and northeast toward Joanna; part of the water will travel along Hwy 221 northwest to Cold Point, then to the LCWSC headquarters tank and along Stagecoach Road to the Raider Road tank (Laurens District High School). It will provide LCWSC’s first and only source of commission-generated water -- supplementing the water LCWSC buys for re-sale from Laurens, Clinton and Greenville. LCWSC also operates a wastewater-treatment plan between Joanna and the Newberry County line, and partners with Re-Wa in the northwest.
Now that there is a reliable source of water in the works on “the south end” - and what a local wag recently referred to a “I-72” between Clinton and Greenwood - what’s next?
We see housing, of course. What our county wouldn’t give for a Stoney Pointe. We see a dedicated and safe SWIMMING spot on the Laurens County side of Lake Greenwood; Laurens County Recreation already is working on this. We see growth potential - Cross Hill, Mountville - Waterloo has a really nice lake access point through a “hidden gem” cove. People who want to live on the water - and there are plenty of them on Lake Murray, Lake Hartwell and Lake Norman - might want a weekend place that’s much less congested. It’s an easy commute into Clinton - watch the speeders! - so why couldn’t the lake be our suburb? What’s stopping us from being a high school-college fishing tournament destination (just the vision and a sponsor). Vision this - a blueway trail from Table Rock State Park to Columbia, all we need is portage at Buzzards Roost.
Right now, development is “happening” in Gray Court. Let them develop - although they do need a comprehensive plan - and LCWSC needs to stay nimble enough to be a player up there. But visionaries in a our county have aimed us, at least for a Thursday afternoon, in another direction - a southern wind is blowing, so to speak. We would do well to pay attention to its potential, as well.