Residents in Lower Richland celebrated the grand opening of a scenic new community park along the banks of Pinewood Lake — a facility that offers space for picnics, leisurely strolls, exercise routines and a look back at history.
During a special ribbon-cutting ceremony on Saturday, Richland County officials welcomed the public into Pinewod Lake Park, located at 1151 Old Garners Ferry Road. The park abuts Pinewood Lake (formerly known as Caughman Pond) and is complete with walking trails, fitness stations, gardens, picnic shelters and a renovated house from the 1930s that contains historical information about the property.
Richland County Councilman Norman Jackson, District 11, was a huge proponent of the park, advocating for the establishment of a recreational space and an outdoor destination in the Lower Richland community. He spoke to a crowd of residents during Saturday’s grand opening, as well as Councilmen Bill Malinowski, District 1, and Jim Manning, District 8.
“This is a gem that has been opened for everyone to enjoy,” Jackson said. “Here’s a place where you can go fishing, where there’s serenity, peace and quiet, walking trails, and we’re preserving history. This is a place where everyone can now truly enjoy the beauty of it.”
This first phase of the park’s construction was funded by $1.4 million in hospitality tax dollars, and it is the first project resulting from feasibility studies intended to develop recreational facilities in communities throughout the County.
Students from Lower Richland High School — specifically students enrolled in the engineering program of the school’s STEM Academy — were invited to take part in the project by helping to build benches and tables. Local historian Scott Gandy culled through the history of the property to provide details of its past that are part of the display inside the renovated building. The land was once home to a church, school, post office, grist mill, railroad depot, restaurant and speedway.
If a second phase of construction at Pinewood Lake Park is approved, further amenities could be built, such as fishing docks, a rentable event center, fountains, additional picnic shelters and an amphitheater.
“Sometimes when you have a vision, some people may not see it as you do,” Jackson said. “You have to do hard work and not give up to bring it to fruition. You have to have vision to move forward … and to meet the needs brought before you by the people that you represent.”