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Trail to Connect AnMed Track to Civic Center Approved

Greg Wilson/Anderson Observer 

Anderson County Council on Tuesday night approved a resolution for the extension of a multi-use path (trail) along the East-West Parkway which would connect the gravel walking track at the pond at the AnMed Campus to the Anderson County Sports and Entertainment Center. 

"Years ago the state allocated money to extend the parkway," said Anderson County Councilman Craig Wooten. "We have the makings of a full walking trail throughout our town. The state said if Anderson does not use the funds for this project, it would be lost."

The path/trail would connect to the existing track on the parkway. The eastern extension begins at the intersection of the parkway, S.C. 81 North, and Oak Hill Drive. It will continue east on Oak Hill Drive, then south down Harriett Circle until the fork at McConnell Springs Road. The path will veer with McConnell Springs Road before turning west onto a sewer easement to reach an existing trail at the AnMed Health Campus pond. 

The western extension will begin at the intersection of Clemson Boulevard (U.S. 76), the parkway and West Beltline Boulevard. The proposed alignment will run west from Clemson Boulevard along the northern side of West Beltline Boulevard to the Civic Center Boulevard intersection. The path will cross Civic Center Boulevard and run south before wrapping the radius at Jim Ed Rice Parkway, the entrance of Anderson Sports Center.

"The benefit we get out of this from the community is worth the minimal maintence cost," Wooten said. "It's a positve thing for the county."

"Because it's a big project, t could be two years before it goes to construction," said Anderson County Assistant Administrator Holt Hopkins.

In other moves, council approved a “Welcome to Anderson County” sign on Interstate 85 northbound near Exit 4. The sign would be identical to the one on I-85 south at Exit 40.

"It will cost $90,000, off the top of my head, and we have it in our budget," said Anderson County Adminstrator Rusty Burns.

"It's important we delineate what Anderson County is, and I'd like people who come in from Atlanta to see they are coming into Anderson County," said Burns.

"I want to compliment the previous council for the sign at S.C. 153 at Exit 40," said said Anderson County Councilman Jimmy Davis. "I get so many compliments on that sign, and I pass it many times a day and it makes me proud of Anderson County," said Anderson County Councilman Jimmy Davis. 

Council also gave approval, on second reading, a plan to examine county roads and determine the standard for speed limits on those roads.The goal, according to Hopkins, is to make sure speed limits are appropriate on county roads.

Residents of Cartee Road in Anderson also spoke out Tuesday night in opposition to rezoning of a portion property in their neighborhood to unrestricted commercial. Anderson County Council Chairman Tommy Dunn suggested the resients and council members meet with the developer before a second reading on the issue. Anderson County Councilwoman Gracie Floyd was the only council member not to vote in favor of moving forward with the motion to rezone.

Anderson Council Councilwoman Cindy Wilson, who voted in favor of the rezoning on first reading, expressed concerns that the developer in question would deal in good faith. Wilson said she would not vote for the rezoning again if her concerns were not properly allayed before the second reading.

Council also approved:

An agreement for new voting machines provided by South Carolina State Election Commission.

Use exploration of borrowing federal Brownfield funds for cleaning up the Toxaway Mill site and the Pelzer Mill site. The fund provides discounted funding and 30 percent debt relief for loans to clean up such sites.

Approved a move to do energy conservation evaluations of all county buildings.


Farmers Market Marks National Week with Saturday Events

The Anderson County Farmers Market is joining markets across the country in celebrating National Farmers Market Week.

On Saturday, in addition to the regular farmers and vendors, volunteers from Clemson Extension, Anderson County Master Gardeners, United Way's "Eat Smart Move More Coalition," and local Youth Volunteer Corps will be at the market offering advice and entertaining children with games and activities. Live music and prepared food will also be a part of the event. 

As demand for local food continues to grow, so too have the opportunities for America’s farmers to market fresh food directly to the consumer. According to statistics recently released by the United States Department of Agriculture, farmers markets and farm stands account for roughly $2 billion of the $3 billion that Americans spend annually on farm-direct products. This revenue, in turn, supports the livelihoods of more than 165,000 mostly small and mid-sized farms and ranches. 

“Farmers markets play a vital role not just in generating real income for farmers, but is forming healthy, prosperous food systems,” says Jen Cheek, Program Director of the Farmers Market Coalition. “By providing the opportunity for farmers to connect directly with consumers, markets serve as education centers. Vendors are teaching customers about agriculture and sharing recipes and new foods with their neighbors. Markets are making people and communities stronger and healthier. “

The Anderson County Farmers Market began in its current location in 2002, and currently hosts approximately 30 farmers selling a wide variety of products, including fresh seasonal produce, local honey, farm-fresh eggs, local beef, pork and poultry, culinary and medicinal herbs, ornamental plants, homemade baked goods, handcrafted soaps and lotions, handmade jewelry, wood crafts and more.

“We are proud to have not only the freshest local produce, but also a wide variety of handmade/homemade items that can make the Market your one-stop shopping place,” said Sharon Nicometo, Anderson County Parks Department Coordinator.

The Market is covered and ADA accessible. SNAP/EBT, WIC, or Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program are accepted at the Market. The Market is located at 402 N. Murray Ave in downtown Anderson (at the intersection of Murray Ave. and Tribble St. and is open Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday from 8 am – 1 pm through November 26.


Clemson Offers Updates on Building Projects

Clemson’s main campus has experienced big changes in just a few short months. Some construction projects have been completed, while others remain on target for their scheduled completion dates. Here are updates on some of the initiatives happening above and beneath the ground.

Electrical distribution

The $75 million project, which upgrades underground utilities installed in the 1950’s continues on Clemson’s main campus with major impacts this summer on Walter T. Cox Boulevard (Hwy.93) is winding down. All lanes on Hwy. 93 are now open in both directions. Project manager Jarred Fleming said that the upgrades, which include the introduction of automation will result in a modernized infrastructure with increased capacity and reliability. The project is anticipated will be complete in late 2020 or early 2021.

Calhoun Drive intersection reconstruction

The redesigned intersection, which combines safety, convenience and connectivity with the new College of Business building, opened Aug. 2.  The speed bumps that once straddled Walter T. Cox Boulevard (Hwy. 93) at the Calhoun Drive intersection have been replaced by a vehicle friendly elevated speed table, which is raised four inches above street level with approach ramps on all three sides. The speed table features a colored concrete interior walking/driving surface, with grey bands of concrete that border each side. Project manager Paul Borick says the speed table contributes to pedestrian safety and when fully complete next spring, provides a natural connection for the new business building, Douthit Hills, main campus, Bowman Field and Sikes Hall.

“When you’re driving down Walter T. Cox Boulevard (Hwy. 93), you can see the color of the speed table from a distance which acts a visual cue for drivers to know the roadway is different.” he explained. “The pedestrian crossing has a traffic signal light that functions like the light at the Cherry Road intersection, meaning that when someone presses the button, all traffic will stop to allow pedestrians to cross in all directions.”

Borick said that the speed table was made to look like an extension of the plaza in front of the new business school building.  The table also includes bollards and brick piers similar to the plaza at the Scroll of Honor Memorial Park and Howard’s Rock which will also act as visual cues for drivers to slow down and provide protection for pedestrians on the adjacent sidewalk.

“It’s meant to make this all feel like one open plaza between Sikes Hall and the new business school,” he said. “It doesn’t feel like you’re in a roadway, it will be much more pedestrian friendly.”

While the intersection has opened to vehicular traffic, Borick said that that drivers should remain cautious since landscaping is still ongoing along the sides of the road and pedestrian traffic will be limited. Because of the ongoing construction, workers will need a little more time to complete the landscaping and set pavers and sidewalks.

“Because of this intersection reconfiguration, Bowman field has actually been expanded,” said Borick. “The unsafe triangle intersection road that used to connect Hwy. 93 to Calhoun Drive at Bowman has been removed, and sod is being installed in its place. We’re calling it ‘mini-Bowman,’” he joked.

Business building

The $87.5 million 176,000 square-foot project is about 60 percent complete. The structure includes a South and a North Tower, divided by a connector walkway that runs from Douthit Hills, though the business building to Walter T. Cox Boulevard (Hwy. 93). The connector walkway leads into a grand set of outdoor stairs, which will offer three landing areas. Over the next several months, workers will finish drywall, finalize the mechanical infrastructure, and continue installing the brick on both towers, according to project manager Paul Borick. Precast concrete will be installed as part of the connector stairs. The project is slated to be completed in the spring with move-in beginning in May 2020.

Child development center

The long-awaited child development center broke ground in February. Construction contractors continue to focus on the foundation work, including leveling the ground, installing underground utilities, as well as fire-, water- and natural-gas lines and electrical distribution systems. As the site work is being completed, the design team is putting the finishing touches to the building design.

When completed, the building will accommodate 132 children and 20 employees and will be operated by a third-party vendor.

Project manager Sam Zanca said his team expects to receive the final required building construction permits soon, at that time they will start construction on the building. The project is expected to be completed in Jan 2020.

IPTAY Expansion and renovation

An additional 8,000 square feet is being added to the IPTAY building, located next to the West End Zone in Memorial Stadium. When completed, the 29,000 square-foot structure will offer three floors of much-needed space. The $10 million project is being funded by donors and private gifts to Athletics.

Project manager Kevin McDonough said the work is about 80 percent finished, with drywall hung and electrical, mechanical and plumbing infrastructure in place. He added that the once two-floor structure now has an added floor, with a large board room, multipurpose room and a patio that overlooks Memorial stadium.

The project began in Dec. 2018 and is slated to be completed in November.

Snow Family Outdoor Fitness and Wellness Center

The 18,000 square-foot facility, which is the result of $2.4 million gift from Dave and Lynette Snow, now has a second floor which includes a 2,000 square-foot classroom that can be divided into two sections, with panoramic views of Lake Hartwell. The room will offer sport flooring for fitness classes, but can also be used across academic disciplines.

“For example, Pat Layton of the Wood Utilization + Design Institute might want to bring engineering students, whose creative inquiry teams were instrumental in the use of the floor and ceiling materials,” said Chris Fiocchi, senior director of Campus Recreation.

The classroom leads to an outdoor deck overlooking Lake Hartwell, which provides yet more space for small classes and collaboration. The areas are separated by a garage-like door, which allows open access to both areas. “It’s like bringing the outside indoors,” Fiocchi added.

Fiocchi said that on the first floor, the mechanical infrastructure is currently being installed and drywall on the first floor will be hung and glass panels added in the coming weeks. Once completed, the first floor will offer a trip resource center, a kitchen prep area, a bike repair shop and more. This area connects to a 5,000 square-foot room that will house rental kayaks, paddleboards and other rental equipment. The project is slated to be completed in the mid- to late- fall semester.


Midnight Flight Set for Aug. 23


Observer Reports

The annual Peoples Bank Midnight Flight, one of the largest night-time races on the East coast, is scheduled for Aug. 23 at the Anderson Area YMCA, with the 1-mile race starting at 8:15 p.m.; the 5K starting at 9 p.m., and the 10K starting at 10 p.m.  Proceeds from this race benefit the programs of the YMCA.  

Awards are available for the 5K and 10K races and are based off gun time. Point Systems: 5K/10K Running Journal Grand Prix/Run & See Georgia Prix. ChronoTrack chip timing will be utilized for all certified races.  
Packet pick-up begins Friday, August 23rd at noon in the Anderson Area YMCA Community Room and continues until 30 minutes before the start of each race. 
Registration is available at the YMCA Membership Services Desk,, and at Pre-registration ends Aug. 18. Free t-shirts guaranteed to the first 1,500 entries. 

School Dist. 1 Superintendent Talks Expansion, Growth

Anderson School Distric One Superintendent Robbie Binnicker says expansion and growth are in the works for the fasting growing part of Anderson County.


From Tolstoy's Call to "Survivor;" an Interview with New Boulevard Pastor Austin Carty

Greg Wilson/Anderson Observer

“God will forgive you!” said he. “Maybe I am a hundred times worse than you.” And at these words his heart grew light, and the longing for home left him. - "The Long Exile," Leo Tolstoy

It's not all that surprising that an English teacher would hear the call to ministry from a Leo Tolstoy short story, the theme of which was later used by Stephen King in "The Shawshank Redemption." 

Austin Carty, the new senior pastor at Boulevard Baptist Church in Anderson, has spent most of his life surrounded people of faith. But along the way, the High Point, N.C., native wrote two books before the age of 30 - "High Points and Lows: Life, Faith, and Figuring It All Out," and "Somewhere Beyond Here" - spent time as an actor ("One Tree Hill") and was a contestant on the CBS reality show "Survivor."

He talked to the Observer about his decision to relocate to Anderson, his life in ministry, his family and his philosophy of ministry as part of this interview.



Clemson Summer Graduation Set for Friday

Clemson University will confer more than 1,000 degrees during the summer graduation ceremony at 9:30 a.m. Friday in Littlejohn Coliseum. Visitors should plan extra time for travel and prepare for metal detectors at each entrance and the enforcement of the clear bag policy as well.

Students from the university’s seven colleges will participate in Friday’s ceremony. A doctoral hooding ceremony for approximately 85 prospective Ph.D. candidates will take place at 3 p.m. Thursday in the Brooks Center for the Performing Arts.

Thursday’s doctoral hooding and Friday’s graduation will be streamed live for those unable to attend.

Allow extra time for travel

Families and guests should plan extra time for travel due to the presence of construction at various parts of the main campus. Please visit the university’s interactive map for up-to-date areas impacted by construction and resulting alternate traffic routes.

Police officers will be directing traffic to help visitors get to the coliseum for the ceremonies. Parking is available in several lots near the coliseum. The lot directly north of Littlejohn is reserved for vehicles with handicap access, while the Avenue of Champions and C-9 parking areas will be reserved for event staff.

All lanes of Highway 93 (Walter T. Cox Boulevard) will be open Friday. Doors open for the event at 7:30 a.m.

More information on clear bag policy, etc., here.


Air Quality Alert for Upstate Tuesday

If you have any breathing issues or respitory illnesses, you might want to take special care on Tuesday.

An Air Quality Alert has been issued for the Upstate form 10 a.m.-8 p.m. because of elevated ozone levels.

If you can, stay inside. If not, you might consider a mask to filter the air on Tuesday.


Saturday's 24-Hour Musical to Benefit Lot Project

Anderson Observer

The Anderson Theatre Festival's 24-Hour Musical is set for Saturday in the Henderson Auditorium of the Anderson University's Callie Stringer Rainey Fine Arts Center, with all proceeds going to benefit The Lot Project in Anderson. The Market Theatre Company is in charge of the production.

Admission is free, but donations will be received at the door for the charity. Seating is first come, first served.

True to the 24-Hour Musical's name, the show that is being performed, as well as the cast list, is a mystery (to the cast and to the public) until the Kick-Off Party just 24 hours before showtime. Everything is learned, created, gathered, and rehearsed in 24 hours by an expansive team of volunteers.

When the cast and crew come together for the first time, they will have only 24 hours to memorize lines, learn choreography and music, build sets, find/make costumes, market the event, and prepare every aspect of the production.

The goal of the 24-Hour Musical is to create excellent theatre to better our community, while also building a creative atmosphere for artists to commit themselves fully to their craft. The group attempts to do this by welcoming imperfection and building a relationship with the audience, an audience that understands passion means more than perfection.

The name of the show will be announced Thursday.

For more information, visit The Market Theatre Company. For more information on the charity, visit The Lot Project.


Mill Town Players "Broadway Cabaret" Begins Friday

The Mill Town Players will present a concert featuring some of their top singers performing popular Broadway tunes Friday-Sunday at 7:30 p.m. at the Pelzer Auditorium. 

Will Ragland, founder and director of the Mill Town Players, said some of the Upstate's favorite actors will be singing a variety of Broadway standards you know and love.

"David Watson will be on piano, and each night will feature 20 performers," Ragland said. "We run this Friday through Sunday!"

"A Broadway Cabaret" will include a varied selection of songs from the Golden Age of Broadway to current favorite American musicals.

For tickets, visit here. 

For more on the Mill Town Players, visit


Council to Discuss Mill Site Cleanups Tuesday

Anderson Observer

Anderson County Council will discuss cleanup at the Toxaway Mill and Pelzer Mill sites as part of a busy agenda for Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. in the history courthouse downtown.

At 6 p.m., the council will honor retired Tri-County Technical College President Ronnie Booth.

Full agendas for both meetings here.


Anderson County Democrats to Meet Saturday

The Anderson County Democratic Party will meet Saturday at 9 a.m. at the main branch of the Anderson County Library.

The meeting agenda includes discussion of the Sept. 22 BBQ event and a training session Aug. 17 in Columbia.



S.C. Governor Wants Census to Count Everyone

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — South Carolina's governor has established a committee to raise awareness about the 2020 survey, saying he wants everyone in the state to be counted.

The Post and Courier reports Gov. Henry McMaster made the announcement Thursday.

McMaster was an early backer of Donald Trump for president. He sidestepped a question about Trump's request to include a citizenship question in the census.

Last month, the U.S. Supreme Court blocked Trump's proposal.

The paper reports Lt. Gov. Pam Evette will lead the newly formed 2020 Complete Count Committee. She had earlier called for encouraging all "citizens to participate." McMaster clarified, saying she meant "all residents."

The committee includes 55 government agencies and organizations.

The census helps determine how the government distributes federal funds, and how many congressional seats states have.