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LAKE WYLIE --
About halfway between Buster Boyd Access Area in Lake Wylie and Ebenezer Park in Rock Hill sits a lakefront boat launch that soon could incorporate amenities of both its neighbors.
York County Council last week approved a proposal to design amenities at Allison Creek Access Area. Property owner Duke Energy will construct improvements as part of the companys Federal Energy Regulatory Commission license to produce power along the Catawba River. The county will maintain it.
Proposed for study are a beach area with lifeguard station and a restroom facility (about 700 square feet); primitive camping for up to 20 sites, possibly with a bathhouse; playground equipment; canoe/kayak launch; beach volleyball; basketball courts; and Frisbee golf.
Also proposed are a gatehouse/fee station, ranger station and equipment storage shed. The gatehouse would be 100 square feet, the ranger station 1,000 square feet and the shed up to 1,000 square feet.
Space for parking and sidewalks also would be planned.
County Manager Jim Baker said many of the improvements, including the beach area, have to go into the design process. Including them now, however, doesnt mean it will happen, he said.
I wish we didnt have to make that commitment today in terms of design, but unless this is approved as part of the (federal) permitting, we wont be able to do that, he said at Councils Sept. 17 meeting.
Charlotte-based HadenStanziale is putting together the landscape, engineering and architectural designs. Construction drawings should be complete by the end of the year. Approval is still needed by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.
Design work, planning and permitting could cost up to $18,500. Architectural fees for the buildings could run close to $62,000. County contingency funds will be used.
Chairman Britt Blackwell said its worth supporting the plan despite financial commitments because York County ranks among the lowest in county park space in South Carolina.
Were not doing that well, he said of county-owned parks. Weve got to consider the quality of life, too.
Councilman David Bowman didnt support the move. He said problems at Ebenezer, the only other such facility in York County to have a beach and similar amenities being discussed for Allison Creek, mean it cant sustain itself .
I just feel like this is outside the boundaries of what we need to be doing, Bowman said of the Allison Creek plan.
His main concern is the county would be in charge of maintaining whatever is built in perpetuity.
This really starts us down a road of having another park, Bowman said. I know the one weve got now, Ebenezer Park, is being run as well as it ca, but Im just not sure I want to commit county citizens to maintaining and operating a park.
Councilman Chad Williams said hes hopeful when it comes time to do construction that Duke will do what it agreed to, and that even Dukes smaller improvements would require county maintenance. He has concerns, but would like to see the improvements if theyre feasible.
It would be a nice amenity for the people of York County if we can do it, Williams said.
Ebenezers inability to sustain itself or even turn a profit, said Councilman Bruce Henderson, might not have to be a bad sign for Allison Creek. It also could be a learning experience.
At least with this we can start out on a good leg to begin with, and we can actually make it at least close to sustainable from the beginning, Henderson said.
Baker said staff would plan to make the countys management as cost-effective as possible.
We can set the fee structure there so we can at least come close to breaking even, he said.
What else is being planned?
As part of Dukes 2008 relicensing plan, Allison Creek would get an additional 48 acres of land for an RV campground, with the county maintaining the space once Duke constructed it. Other area recreational amenities on Lake Wylie from that plan include: