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the flame

the flame

J. Mitchell Graham Award Competition_2012

4y ago


On Friday, June 1st, 2012, the eve of the 3rd Annual Saluda River Rally, Anderson County dedicated the first public ADA floating kayak launch in the state of South Carolina. Local residents, Sandy Hanebrink and Ben Otto Sunderman, both of whom are mobility-impaired, had the privilege of making history by being the first to utilize the new launch. This ADA launch is the heart of Anderson County's Saluda River Development Plan between the Saluda Lake Dam and the Town of Ware Shoals Dam, and is significantly tied to the County's ADA Compliance initiatives. It is situated on the 48-mile access improvement zone, and ties into the larger vision for the 127-mile Blue Trail along six Upstate South Carolina counties that border the Saluda River including Abbeville, Anderson, Greenville, Greenwood, Laurens and Pickens. This six county collaboration and public/private partnership is a regional joint effort to promote and preserve local natural resources by creating ADA compliant river access and resource awareness. Anderson County's current efforts and latest success have been focused on a 9-mile corridor in northern Anderson County that envelops Dolly Cooper Park. The development of this 9-mile corridor includes plans for full ADA accessibility, as well as an emergency preparedness element to improve response time for the local Piedmont Fire Department's Water Rescue Team. This project would not have been possible without the support of the Anderson County Council, especially District 6 Councilman Ken Waters, District 5 Councilman Tommy Dunn and current Council Chairman Tom Allen (District 4). The passing of the "Proclamation of Recommitment to Full Implementation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)." paved the way for work to begin on all facets of compliance with the new ADA regulations. In 2010, Wayne Proctor was appointed as Anderson County's ADA Coordinator. His tireless efforts have resulted in Anderson County's Comprehensive ADA Transition Plan, a document that required an extraordinary amount of imagination and innovation to look at county facilities and services through the eyes of a person with disabilities. Wayne's efforts were a vital building block for all Anderson County's current and future compliance achievements. Recognizing the significance of providing recreational opportunities with access for all persons, Anderson County Legislative Delegation assisted Anderson County by providing $260,000 to begin this project. Behind every positive initiative, there are people who saw an opportunity, envisioned the possibilities and determined to make the vision a reality. In 2006, three county staff members were working on a dedication program for the brand new Dolly Cooper Park in Powdersville, South Carolina. During conversations, the idea of a paddling corridor was born. Since that day, these same three have been intricately involved in the Labor Day Omnium/Tour de LaFrance and the Saluda River Rally, which include working with the US Handcycling Association and Touch the Future, Inc. The partnership, innovation and collaboration of Matt Schell, Sharon Nicometo and Angie Stringer ignited the flame that birthed the Saluda River Rally, which Matt and Sharon have turned into a 3 year tradition and the 4-year running Labor Day Omnium pro-cycling race, directed by Angie. Both of these events provide recreation and competitive opportunities for ALL residents including those with disabilities. Additional partners in this project were: Abbeville County, Greenville County, Greenwood County, Laurens County, Pickens County, Town of Pelzer, Town of Williamston, Upstate Forever, Enel Green Power North America, Inc., Duke Energy, Foothills Motorsports, Go Play Outside, Grady's Great Outdoors, Northbrook Carolina Hydro, LLC., Powdersville Council of the Easley Chamber of Commerce, Piedmont Fire Department, Powdersville Fire Department, Powdersville Water District, Renewable Water Resources of south Carolina, Saluda Riv...