AIKEN COUNTY, S.C. (WJBF) – Aiken County is hoping to attract tourist to the world’s largest pond, while it’s closed for repairs.
Aiken County took a big financial hit in recreational revenue when it was forced to close the Langley Pond Dam for repairs in 2014.
However, things are starting to look up for the county again, because work on the final phase of the levee could begin by the end of the year.
It’s the 9th best disc golf course on the planet and it’s right here in Aiken County’s Langley Pond Park.
A leak in the Langley Pond Dam forced county leaders to shut it down and the recreational venue lost part of its appeal.
Which prompted the Parks, Rec and Tourism Department to find other ways to bring people back.
“We’ve added several things since the ponds closed down,” said Director Mark Van Der Linden. “We’ve added a 2.8 mile walking trail down there, for folks to enjoy. It’s called the Langley Pond Loop Trail and we added a championship level disc golf course.”
Langley Pond was a popular spot for water activities, including a 2,000 meter rowing competition held there yearly.
Which the county had to drop, losing a significant amount of money.
After a few hiccups, mainly because the county didn’t have the original structure plans, the levee repairs are back on track.
“We’re slowly, but surely getting there. We’ve gotten all of the D.H.E.C. permits. As I understand it, we’ve submitted the plans and specs to F.E.M.A. for approval.” Aiken County Administrator Clay Killian told WJBF NewsChannel 6. “F.E.M.A. has to give us a permit as well. Once that’s done the phase 2 construction funds will be released.”
The dam is set to get a new spill way, the beach area will be expanded and while the pond is low, it’s going to be undergoing some rehab of its own.
“So this is a once in a lifetime chance to actually access the bottom of the pond,” Van Der Linden said. “So with that, we are going to do some cleaning up and make it more accessible, and more safer for boaters that use the pond.”
The county received a grant for $8 million dollars to help cover the cost of repairs.
Leaders are hopeful to get the F.E.M.A. permit approved by September, so they can then put out bids for the final phase.
Killian says he hopes to begin construction by December.
Count on WJBF NewsChannel 6 to bring you the latest on this developing story.