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Langley Pond won't be available again for summer swimming while major improvements continue

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Langley Pond won’t be available for swimming this summer.

The reason why is that the swimming area is in a section of Langley Pond Park where a major redevelopment project is underway.

“It is right in the construction limits and there is equipment out there that is dangerous, so we’ve got to get that work finished,” said Aiken County Parks, Recreation and Tourism Department Director Mark van der Linden recently. “We’ve also got to relocate a power line that is directly above the swim area.”

Van der Linden is expecting the redevelopment project to be completed this fall.

Rowing events could begin taking place there again then.

They probably would be club competitions at first, not big events sanctioned by USRowing, the sport’s governing body, van der Linden said during Aiken County’s annual Budget Planning Retreat on Feb. 19 at the Aiken County Government Center.

He wasn’t sure when sanctioned rowing events would return.

Aiken County has spent in recent years and is continuing to spend millions of dollars from various sources to make improvements and fix issues at Langley Pond Park, which is in the Warrenville area.

Langley Pond originally was closed to swimming and rowing because of problems with its dam.

In November 2014, a man walking his dog noticed that the water’s color in Horse Creek below the dam looked different from normal. Local officials subsequently determined that the structure was leaking.

The effort to repair, renovate and modernize the dam finished last year at a cost of more than $14 million.

The water level that had been lowered was allowed to rise again, but swimming and rowing didn’t resume.

“We made the decision to kind of keep the pond closed because we went right into our redevelopment project that uses a large area of the park,” van der Linden said. “We’ve allowed folks to fish off of the bank and off of the dam.”

A new finish line tower has been constructed, and a new access road to Langley Pond Park, Igor Grinko Way, is being built.

“We are working on installing a new rowing course now,” van der Linden said.

The swimming area has been expanded.

In addition, “we have a new two-lane boat ramp and dock,” van der Linden said.

There also are plans for a new inclusive playground, grill station, misting station, hammock park, parking upgrades and more.

In the hammock park, “people will be able to bring their own hammocks, hook them up and just relax and read a book,” said van der Linden. “We are going to have a dedicated space for that.”

Improvements also will involve landscaping, irrigation, walkways and lighting, to name a few.

“We are going to make it into a really nice park, really a one-of-a-kind type of venue that people can enjoy right in the center of our county,” van der Linden said.

Langley Pond Park is at 113 Langley Dam Road.

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