CONWAY — The Conway City Council on Monday OK'd spending $3,500 for appraisal of property along U.S. 501 Business that it hopes will eventually become more than 600 acres devoted to hiking trails and other passive recreation.
The property is part of a 490-acre tract now owned by Springwoods Timberlands that is to be purchased by The Nature Conservancy and deeded to the city. The tract adjoins another 150-acre tract already owned by the Conservancy that borders Waccamaw Elementary School.
It, too, is to be deeded to the city, according to a plan between the city and the Conservancy, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Waccamaw National Wildlife Refuge and others.
The two tracts lie roughly along U.S. 501 Business between S.C. 90 and the bridge over the Waccamaw River leading into downtown Conway.
The city already owns a narrow piece of property across the river from the Conway Riverwalk that extends downriver beyond the Conway Marina.
"We have a real good working partnership in going after these properties," Steve Tanner, the city's senior planner, told council members.
Maria Whitehead, project director for the Winyah Bay and Pee Dee River for The Nature Conservancy, said the city and Conservancy have been working for a couple of years on the purchase of the Springwoods property.
Whitehead said more than 90 percent of the Springwoods property is wetland.
The plan is that once the property has been appraised, the city will use its value to apply for a grant from the state Parks, Recreation and Tourism Department to develop the trails and other amenities on the land. Other plans include a canoe input area with access to the river and an outdoor environmental education area.
Conway Mayor Alys Lawson said that
once developed, the large park area will become another plus for the city's quality of life and could be a draw for ecotourists.
Contact STEVE JONES at 444-1765.