Originally created 12/24/06

Grant could lead to black history museum



A black history museum could be in Graniteville's future.

Aiken County Council's development committee approved a proposal Dec. 12 to apply for a $60,000 grant to renovate the Graniteville Rock Cottage at the Aiken County Recreation Center.

Brian Sanders, the executive director of the Aiken County Parks, Recreation and Tourism Department, said the long-term goal is to turn the cottage into a black history museum.

He said the structure needs new flooring and a new roof, among other maintenance items.

The South Carolina National Heritage Corridor grant requires matching funds, according to county documents. County officials said those funds would be available from local option sales tax monies designated for park improvements.

This proposal was one of several the committee approved. It also supported a proposal to apply for an Environmental Protection Agency grant to fund an assessment of contamination at the Clearwater Finishing Plant property.

Assistant county administrator Joan Donnelly said funding for the study would not be available until Oct. 1. No matching funds from the county are required, she said.

"This will assess around the ponds," Ms. Donnelly said. "This will not clean it up. We'll just find out what's out there."

Years of textile-dyeing operations at the plant, which is now abandoned, left contamination on the property.

County officials also plan to apply for an EPA grant to clean up the abandoned site of Seminole Mill, a former spun rayon fabrics plant. The federal grant also will be available Oct. 1.

A $40,000 match is required, Ms. Donnelly said, and this funding is included in local option sales tax monies.

The committee members also agreed to seek an $8,000 grant to market Langley Pond as one of the top rowing venues in the country. An $8,000 county match, which would be available through accommodations taxes, is required.

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