Ground broken for Saluda Shoals Park expansion - - Columbia, South Carolina |

Ground broken for Saluda Shoals Park expansion

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What was once an abandoned industrial site in Irmo will be a place to play sports within a year.

Ground was broken Thursday on an expansion at Saluda Shoals Park that includes soccer fields, tennis courts and a zip line. The site was formerly home to BC Components.

Officials with the Irmo-Chapin Recreation Commission have been working with DHEC to change the site from concrete to green space since it was purchased in 2004.

"The need for soccer and tennis in the Irmo community came to the top as a top priority," said recreation commission Executive Director Elizabeth Taylor.

She said the commission's master plan process identified the need to expand the park. In addition to athletic facilities, the expansion includes pavilions, restrooms, concession stands extending the lower Saluda Greenway Trail connecting Lake Murray to Riverbanks Zoo and providing river access for canoes, kayaks and tubes.

"There is a lot of enthusiasm and excitement surrounding this groundbreaking today," said Taylor. "People are excited about what this is going to do for recreation. They're excited about the visibility that it's going to give Saluda Shoals Park. They're excited about the revitalization of the Seven Oaks Business District."

"It's a good thing here in the community," said Irmo Mayor Hardy King. "And really bigger than the community because they'll get a lot of people not just from Irmo but Columbia and up and down Interstate 26 and 20, from all around here."

Construction begins immediately and work is expected to be completed in the spring of 2015.

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