SCANA has donated more than 360 acres along Congaree Creek and the Congaree River to Cayce to be used for recreation and for a long-planned history park.
The donated property runs from 12th Street Extension to the Congaree River, encompassing most of the route of the new Timmerman Trail and a connecting section of the Cayce Riverwalk slated to open in January. As part of the deal, Cayce will assume responsibility for operation and maintenance of the property.
Cayce has been working with the National Park Service, the S.C. Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism and the River Alliance on a park to celebrate the 12,000 years of human habitation on the western bluff of the Congaree River. Native Americans gathered there for thousands of years before it was the site of one of the first trading posts for European settlers in the interior of the state.
“Land with this level of archaeological and historical significance is rare, and SCANA should be commended for the preservation and donation of this land to become public for all to learn from and enjoy,” Cayce Mayor Elise Partin said of the donation, officially finalized Tuesday night at a City Council meeting.
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Much of the property is in the floodplain, limiting development along the dirt section of Old State Road. It has been planted for timber production in recent decades. But the donation includes four acres of high ground along Saxe Gotha Road, where a visitor and interpretive center for the history park is planned.
The center would share that section of Saxe Gotha Road with the Cayce Tennis and Fitness Center and a planned apartment complex in SCANA’s Otarre Point development. The land also adjoins the 627-acre Congaree Creek Heritage Preserve, managed by the S.C. Department of Natural Resources.
The 3.5-mile Timmerman Trail, built by SCANA, guides hikers past Civil War earthworks (still visible) and the site of a Colonial-era fort (not visible). The trail begins on the edge of SCANA’s headquarters property along the west side of 12th Street Extension.
“Serving our communities is a core value at SCANA,” said SCANA CEO Kevin Marsh, “and that’s why we are proud to have developed the Timmerman Trail with miles of walking paths and natural beauty for the public to enjoy.”