Ribbon cutting ceremony held at Camden Riverfront Environmental Park

There's a new park in Camden that will give kayaks and canoes access to water, while allowing nature to flourish.

Columbia, S.C. (WOLO) — There’s a new park in Camden that will give kayaks and canoes access to water, while allowing nature to flourish.

Officials held a ribbon-cutting ceremony held at Camden Riverfront Environmental Park, marking the completion of the first part of a project which has been ongoing for about eight years.

“The project evolved out of a rectangular, flat bottom, sewage treatment pond. Wanted to make it accessible to the general public, wanted to encourage wildlife, wanted to encourage the water access and bring it back to the river,” said Kenneth Simmons, project designer for the park.

“It’s been about eight years when this idea came to fruition, and then the wheels start turning and the work started,” said Camden Mayor Alfred Mae Drakeford. “It’s been about eight years when this idea came to fruition, and then the wheels start turning and the work started.”

A $500,000 grant has turned the former wastewater lagoon into a recreational space.

“Here we have a park where we had a sewer plant, to put it nicely. Maybe you’ve been here before,” said Sen. Vincent Sheheen of District 27.

This park also provides public access to the Wateree River.

“I saw the kayaking taking place out there, I said ‘wow, this is exactly, exactly the intent that we wanted to make happen’ and it’s doing that,” said Drakeford. 

“It will never look like this again. We intend to let it revert back to nature. In 10 years, you’re going to have trees along these walkways, you’re going to have different wildlife habitats,” said Simmons.

Now, wildlife and people can enjoy the 24-acre environmental park.

“My goal is to leave this world a whole lot better than it was when I got here. And this is one example of how we can do it,” said Simmons.

Several phases of the project are still to come, including an event stage for live music.

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