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County to buy recreation area

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AIKEN - The Aiken County Council approved a resolution Monday to execute a purchase agreement for a recreational facility on Boyd Pond Road.

The council agreed to pay $2 million to Savannah River Site Operations Recreation Association for the 210-acre property, which includes a pond, recreation fields, a five-mile bike trail and a nine-hole golf course.

Funding will come from various sources including local option sales taxes proceeds, which were approved by voters in 2004, grants and the Aiken County Open Land Trust.

Councilman Scott Singer said the developed property will be titled to Aiken County and the undeveloped property will be titled to the land trust.

He said county funds will be used to purchase about 50 percent of the land, and land trust funds will be used for the other half.

He said that with only about $1.5 million in sales tax funding for open space, the purchase would not have been possible without the collaboratons of the land trust and the SRS Operations Recreation Association's commitment to the project.

"We really appreciate (the association's) working with the county to create this lasting legacy for our children and our grandchildren," Mr. Singer said.

Councilman Eddie Butler said this land, along with the county's recent purchase of property at Langley Pond, would be nice additions to the county's small park system.

He also said he hoped the county could provide land for a third park in the eastern part of the county.

"Our board worked very hard on this. It just made perfect sense for it to go to Aiken County," Ben Burnau, the association's executive director, said after the meeting.

Last week, the Aiken City Council unanimously agreed to loan $250,000 to Aiken County or to the land trust to help with the purchase of the property. City Manager Roger LeDuc said the loan amount would come from $1 million of 1-cent capital projects sales tax monies that was set aside for open space.

The Operations Recreation Association bought the site in 1984 to provide recreational opportunities to SRS employees. However, the use of the property has dropped steadily.

Mr. Burnau said he did not know when the property would change hands.

Reach Betsy Gilliland at (803) 648-1395, ext. 113, or betsy.gilliland@augustachronicle.com.


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