Conservation Department considering moving Waterworks Park to higher elevation after flooding

By Grace King, Mt. Pleasant News


As questions continue to be posed to Henry County Conservation Department in regard to flooding at Waterworks Park campground, Executive Director John Pullis is taking a close look at the cost of damages and maintenance over the years compared with South Shore campground.

During the Board of Supervisors meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 9, Pullis said that Warner Engineering is working on what it would take to move the campground to higher elevation. Since 1993, Waterworks Park has had six declarations resulting in $190,725 in damages and maintenance cost. Pullis compared that to South Shore campground, which he calculated to cost $156,000.

In total, maintenance to South Shore campground has cost $265,000; however, Pullis said that almost $109,000 of that maintenance cost went to removing debris behind the dam and much of it was mitigated. For example, in 2008, the department mitigated road rock and instead put in concrete so there wouldn?t be as much upkeep.

Pullis also reported that there were eight closures of Waterworks from 2001 to 2017 and only six at South Shore. He also reported revenue for Waterworks to be only $88,000, compared to South Shore?s revenue of $218,500.

?That shows a discrepancy between the two campgrounds,? Pullis said. ?They have never been equal as far as visitors.?

In a Board of Supervisors meeting on Tuesday, Dec. 12, Pullis said that board members have been approached by several people about the need to move the Waterworks Park campground.

Pullis said the Conservation board is waiting to receive information from engineers before making a decision.

In other news, cabin construction was well underway until Friday, Dec. 22. Since then, the site has been tarped over and the construction crew is waiting for warm weather to begin again. ?We?ve kind of mothballed those for now,? Pullis said.

The department is requesting new equipment in the next fiscal year, which begins July 1. Pullis said they are looking into what type of stump grinder to purchase. Currently, the department either leaves the stumps, burns them or takes the entire tree out.

?I was relying on board members in the wood industry to give us some guidance,? Pullis said. ?It was their recommendation we go with a tractor-mounted one versus a self-contained unit.? Pullis added that he wasn?t in favor of a self-contained unit anyway because it was just another motor to maintain.

In other new equipment, the security cameras added to the Nature Center are a big hit with the staff who can now look through the cameras from apps on their phones. The one problem they are having right now is that the internet in the nature center is intermittent, which is what the cameras are tied to, Pullis said. It is being repaired, however, and new software is being added to desktop computers in the office so they can view the cameras from the computers as well.