LYMAN, SC (WSPA) – Leaders in one Upstate community are working to bring new life to an abandoned mill site.
Mills were once the cornerstone of many Upstate communities.
Likewise, many mill properties have been redeveloped.
Folks in Lyman hope it’s their turn.
“It was such a good group of people,” Reba Bruce recalled.
Bruce recently celebrated her 91st birthday. She still lives by the old mill off Pacific Street in Lyman where she once worked.
“Oh it was very nice,” she said. “We just enjoyed working there and to see it like it is, it’s sad.”
Their piece of history is marked with graffiti and signs of condemnation.
The mill closed in 2005, and much of it was demolished years later.
“The mill was Lyman,” Mayor Larry Chappell said.
He said the property has become an eyesore and the Environmental Protection Agency is testing the site to see how it can be cleaned up.
“Trying to drill and get samples,” the mayor said, adding that the town met with the EPA, DHEC, the Appalachian Council of Governments, and property owners. “We had some people come in that had worked in the mill and gave them some ideas of what happened in the mill.”
He says some of the property is in Spartanburg County.
The EPA’s federal assistance will fund the environmental testing needed for redevelopment.
“After they get the asbestos and any hazardous material out there then I think it’ll be more likely that developers may come and say okay it’ll cost me $50k or $100k to tear all this down,” Chappell said. “Hopefully we see something over there – maybe storefronts or homes or whatever.”
Whatever it is, Bruce wants something their mill village can be proud to look at every day.
“I just hope they’ll do something nice with it,” Bruce said.
The mayor says they’ve already started phase one of the testing.
The town is working on the project with a Greenville-based company called SynTerra Corp., which plans to hold a public forum later this year.