A local engineer has volunteered to help with the master plan for Riverside Park, town council members learned at a briefing meeting Tuesday evening.
Steve Howiler is offering to assist the town in preparing a development plan, including preliminary engineering work, drafting plans, assisting in the preparation of narrative documents and assisting in grant applications.
“I’ve always wanted to see something done down there,” he said. “It’d really be awesome to bike from there to Arrowhead (Park.)”
Mayor Andy Ingram said the Cheraw Town Council has talked about wanting to see more down in that area, including extending the picnic shelter and adding bath facilities.
“We’re limited to what we can do because it’s a flood plain,” he said.
Howlier said a complete topographical survey of the area — which he said could be completed within a month — would have to be completed before any planning could begin. He estimates that an in-depth survey could cost the town up to $10,000.
Scott Laney, director of parks and public facilities, said the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers would have to approve anything done there.
Besides being in a flood plain, the town also faces problems with erosion on the river bank.
Town Manager Mike Smith said that erosion control was very important. He suggested using concrete from the Cheraw Complex to be used as a base along the river.
“If you’re going to do anything else along the bank, you have to make sure it’s stabilized,” Howiler said.
Ideas for tying the parks together through trails along the sewer right-of-way, adding playground equipment, setting up fishing areas and the potential for an amphitheater were also mentioned.
The area also has historical significance. Councilman Reid McBride said the area is where General William T. Sherman’s troops tried to cross the river during the Civil War.
Ingram said the issue would be brought before the finance committee before considering putting out for bids on the survey.
The council also saw a conceptual drawing for a landscape project for the median at the town’s entry point on U.S. 1, just west of the Pee Dee River.
The plan currently calls for two dozen magnolias on the shoulder of the highway and 1,000 knockout roses, three cabbage palmettos and several pond cypress trees in the median.
The palmettos would serve as a backdrop for the welcome sign.
Laney said he would work on tweaking the plan before submitting it to the S.C. Department of Transportation for approval.
Work is expected to begin sometime during the fall.