BELTON, S.C. (WSPA) – A major economic development project in Anderson County hit a 10 year milestone Wednesday as the City of Belton broke ground on the next step of developing a 48 mile blueway along the Saluda River.
More people are heading to the Upstate to experience outdoor adventures such as kayaking. As the area grows, Anderson County has been working to capitalize on the Saluda River by placing ADA compliant launches along the river’s edge.
The blueway starts at Dolly Cooper Park with an ADA kayak launch, which has attracted more people to use the water. The new Belton Landing trail head and launch point will help to create a longer blueway and connect communities.
“We’ve even seen interest grow where we are attracting people from California, Florida, Connecticut, New York, Virginia, Maryland, so outside the state. So this corridor in Upstate SC is regionally significant,” Anderson County Parks Development Manager Matt Schell said.
Downriver in Piedmont and Pelzer, the growth of the blueway has been spurring new developments along the riverbanks, bringing new money into old mill towns.
“The Saluda River is an untapped resource to connect the cities along the border of Anderson Co. Even though the city of Belton isn’t actually on the river, they own property to allow them to be part of the riverside communities,” Schell explained.
City of Belton Mayor Wendell Page said she believes the city will be turning the corner for economic growth with the Belton Landing.
“We want to bring people to Belton to come to eat, maybe to move, to live,” Page said.
The Belton Landing will open another seven miles to these opportunities as they work to connect six sectors, totaling 48 miles of waterway.
“It will be a kayak landing, fishing pier, picnic area, just all around recreation area,” Page explained.
The county has already opened the kayak launch. It’s just preparing the space and creating parking before it’ll be able to officially open.
“I’ve talked to a lot of people and they ask me daily ‘When’s it going to start? When’s it going to finish? They are very excited,” Page said.
The cost of the launch and park area at the trail head will be largely funded by grants from Duke Energy and a South Carolina Parks and Recreation program totaling $135,000.
The county plans to open the Belton Landing in Spring 2020.