AIKEN COUNTY, S.C. (WJBF) – Local rowers will have to count out practicing at Langley Pond Dam again this year.
In 2014, the area was closed because of a leak and Aiken County leaders have yet to turn dirt on the proposed rehab of the levee.
Design plans to restructure the 163-year-old dam have been in the works for months and its only 60 percent done.
Aiken County leaders say the original completion date of spring 2018 doesn’t seem likely and Langley residents aren’t happy about it.
“I think they are dragging their feet on it,” Aiken County resident Tony Smith said. “If they are going to fix it, they need to fix it.”
The world’s largest pond will remain closed for maintenance, at least for the near future.
“We understand it’s a problem,” said Aiken County Administrator Clay Killian. “We are trying to get it fixed because we want it back too and when it comes back it will be even more attractive than it is now.”
Locals who enjoy spending time outdoors use the dam area for fishing and other recreational activities.
At its peak popularity the U.S. Olympic Rowing Team used the pond to practice.
However, after almost three years of being unusable, Langley homeowner James Reed says its starting to affect this community.
“I know several businesses closed down because that’s the reason they opened up down here because of so much activity was going on at the pond,” said Reed. “Then when the dam messed up, they shut their businesses down.”
Killian says he’s aware of the issues, but with a project of this scale he can’t just jump hoops to get it done any quicker.
“It’s not a simple process you’ve got Corps of Engineers involved, you have state regulatory agencies involved and just getting it designed. It’s not necessarily a simple design, because you’ve got a structure that’s there now that’s being rehabbed to some extent and some parts that are being replaced.” Killian said.
County leaders say once they complete the design, contractors can then begin bidding on the project.
The estimated cost of the dam rehab is currently $13 million dollars, but they hope the bidding process will drive down the cost.
At this time they do not have a timeline for when work could begin.
Count on WJBF NewsChannel 6 to bring you the latest on this developing story.