Acquisition of 1,806-acre Weyerhaeuser property alongside the Black River and a latest Boeing grant will assist jumpstart Andrews’ financial revitalization efforts making approach for Black River State Park.
ANDREWS, S.C. (November 20, 2023)— The South Carolina Conservation Financial institution (SCCB), the Open Area Institute (OSI), Boeing, and the City of Andrews as we speak collectively introduced the everlasting safety of greater than 1,800 acres alongside the Black River simply outdoors the city of Andrews in rural Georgetown County. Bought from Weyerhaeuser, the acquisition is a win for conservation and rural financial improvement and a cornerstone of the collaborative Black River Initiative.
The Black River Initiative is a community-driven effort to determine a brand new leisure water path connecting a rising community of public lands alongside 70 miles of river by means of Williamsburg and Georgetown counties. The Initiative created South Carolina’s first state park in additional than 15 years when the South Carolina Division of Parks, Recreation & Tourism (SCPRT) acquired a riverside property from OSI in 2021. Along with defending huge stretches of an ecologically various panorama, the plan goals to stimulate the economic system of rural riverside communities, together with Andrews and Kingstree, by drawing out of doors fanatics to expertise the vacation spot water path.
A frontrunner of the Black River Initiative, OSI acquired the latest property from Weyerhaeuser in mid-November. The 1,806-acre tract—the most important of the Black River park properties–is simply minutes from downtown Andrews. It would function the centerpiece of Andrews’ just lately launched city revitalization plan and provides alternatives for biking, paddling, picnicking, climbing, tenting, and fishing. OSI will maintain and steward the land, and finally switch the property to SCPRT.
“I firmly consider that protected public lands are important to the state’s financial future,” acknowledged South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster. “I’m happy with our state’s funding on this future park and am delighted that trade big Boeing continues to speculate on this transformational undertaking that can permit present and future generations to understand and benefit from the distinctive fantastic thing about the Black River.”
Mission funders embody SCCB, the South Carolina Workplace of Resilience (SCOR), Bipartisan Infrastructure Legislation Funding (BIL Funding), Boeing, Knobloch Household Basis, and extra personal sources.
“Conservation works greatest when it contributes to the native economic system, neighborhood, and tradition of a spot. The Weyerhaeuser tract checks the entire packing containers,” mentioned Dr. Maria Whitehead, OSI’s Vice President of Land within the Southeast. “OSI is extremely grateful for the funding companions that got here collectively to make this undertaking occur, and for the engagement and dedication of our state and trade companions.”
The SCCB has been a constant and important funding associate, investing in 9 public park tasks within the Black River hall.
“The Black River Initiative exemplifies the exceptional outcomes that we will obtain by means of public-private partnerships,” defined Raleigh West, SCCB Director. “We’re excited that the Andrews-Weyerhaeuser undertaking is not going to solely defend nature, but additionally assist carry eco-tourism to one in every of South Carolina’s treasured rural communities.”
In 2021, Boeing made its preliminary funding within the Black River effort when it partnered with The Nature Conservancy within the buy of the “Park Ranger” tract, a 163-acre property that serves because the Black River ranger station. Boeing just lately made one other grant to OSI to advance ongoing collaborative efforts to plan, design, construct, and promote the brand new park community.
“Boeing invests within the communities the place our teammates and households stay and work, and that features defending our waterfront ecosystems,” mentioned Lindsay Leonard, senior director of Authorities Operations for Boeing. “Preserving the Black River isn’t nearly nature’s magnificence—it’s about nurturing a significant lifeline for communities, fostering recreation and rising the bond between folks and the outside.”
SCOR additionally contributed to the acquisition.
“SCOR appreciates the chance to speak, collaborate, and cooperate with our fellow state businesses SCDNR, SCPRT, and SCCB, to boost the sweetness and performance of Black River State Park,” acknowledged SCOR’s Chief Resilience Officer, Ben Duncan. “Collectively, we will rework this pure gem right into a resilient and thriving useful resource for the neighborhood.”
A Rising Community of Parks
The Weyerhaeuser tract would be the largest parcel within the 70-mile community of 12 parks, bringing the full of Black River State Park land to 3,500 acres, not together with the parks owned and operated by municipal, personal, and nonprofit companions.
“The Weyerhaeuser property is enormously helpful to the long run Black River State Park not solely due to the huge acreage it provides to parkland – but additionally as a result of it gives a bodily hyperlink to Andrews, simply minutes from their downtown,” mentioned SCPRT Director, Duane Parrish. “As we’ve collaborated with public, personal, and nonprofit entities to create this park community, the Andrews management and neighborhood have been fixed and dedicated companions and advocates for this historic undertaking. Andrews sees the worth and prospects the long run Black River State Park brings to their neighborhood, which makes the Weyerhaeuser property an extremely particular acquisition.”
The City of Andrews straddles Georgetown and Williamsburg counties and is strategically situated on the coronary heart of the 70-mile-long Black River park community. Just like the City of Kingstree, its neighbor to the west, the Andrews neighborhood sees the Black River as a pure asset.
Andrews just lately launched a revitalization plan that was developed with neighborhood enter by land planning consultants Earth Design and Arnett Muldrow. The plan envisions vibrant, flood-resilient park areas, linkages to the long run state park, and welcoming streetscapes.
“In Andrews we now have a brand new plan and new hope,” acknowledged Andrews Mayor, Frank McClary. “We plan to harness – and showcase – the world-class Black River expertise to assist create sustainable new jobs and alternatives for native residents.”
In regards to the Black River State Park
Based on the U.S. Division of Commerce’s Outside Trade Affiliation, out of doors recreation in South Carolina generates greater than 72,000 direct jobs, $5.7 billion in whole out of doors recreation worth, and $2.9 billion in wages and salaries. Not included in these numbers are the myriad of individuals and companies that select South Carolina as house due to its unequalled pure magnificence and entry to the outside.
“We’re at all times blissful to associate on tasks that present vital conservation worth for our working communities,” mentioned Tyler Pope, Land Asset Supervisor for Weyerhaeuser. “We acknowledge this property will open up distinctive leisure entry and financial alternative alongside the Black River, and we’re excited to assist advance the imaginative and prescient for this native park community.”
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The Open Area Institute protects scenic, pure, and historic landscapes to offer public enjoyment, preserve habitat and dealing lands, and maintain communities. Based in 1974 to guard vital landscapes in New York State, OSI has been a associate within the safety of practically 2.3 million acres in North America, together with greater than 50,000 acres in South Carolina. Go to OSI Southeast on-line at https://www.openspaceinstitute.org/southeast
The South Carolina Conservation Financial institution was created in 2002 by the SC Basic Meeting to fund the preservation of, and public entry to, many sorts of South Carolina land, together with wildlife habitats, pure areas, historic websites, websites of distinctive ecological significance, forestlands, farmlands, watersheds, open area, city parks and parks like the long run Black River State Park. To this point, the Financial institution has protected over 360,000 acres throughout our state in its efforts to maintain South Carolina a particular and vital place—concurrently defending helpful pure sources and respecting personal property rights. Study extra at https://www.sccbank.sc.gov
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