Improvements are under way at Columbia County's lakefront Wildwood Park, and officials hope that an ongoing plan to upgrade amenities in the 975-acre park will result in economic boost to the area.
Work recently finished on expanding parking near three new boat ramps that will soon be installed into Thurmond Lake.
"It was just woods," Barry Smith, the county's director of Community and Leisure Services said about the eight-acre tract "It's all been cleared, and there's a very large parking to lot accommodate 250 cars."
The work is part of a $830,000 project funded by 1-cent sales tax money to upgrade the recreational area.
Currently, three boat docks are being built, and officials are lowering the water to allow for the ramps' installation, which is expected to start this week and take about six weeks to complete.
"The docks can be used the first part of March, and there's a bass tournament up there," Smith said. "So we're really shooting for the docks and ramps to be completed just in time for the bass tournament."
He said the improvements will help the park attract more regional and national bass tournaments.
But fishing isn't the only draw the county is hoping the park will bring.
Horse-riding trails were completed recently, and the ribbon-cutting is scheduled for those sometime this month.
There also are plans to build a disc golf course, which will be the new home for the Professional Disc Golf Association Headquarters now based in Toronto.
A consultant is working on a master plan for the entire park that should be complete in February.
"Between the bass tournaments and the disc golf, there'll be a good bit of revenue," Smith said "I'm also proposing to add more camping areas and that will also generate more revenue for the park."
Smith said he intends to request another $700,000 of future improvements to be included on this year's ballot to extend the county's 1-cent sales tax.
Some of the projects in his proposal include a fish-weighing station, a cleaning station, restrooms at the dock area, relocation of the sand beaches, picnic shelters and a pavilion.
"Also, we're looking to maybe building cabins, little condos," Smith said. "All the amenities we're asking for will have a revenue nature about them."
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