The Rocky River Conservancy, Anderson University, and Upstate Forever hosted a design charrette and idea-sharing session for the Rocky River Nature Park on December 4. The event was facilitated by Seamon Whiteside and Associates, the consultants designing the nature park, and was well-attended by over thirty representatives from the City and County of Anderson, AnMed Health, Anderson University, Rocky River Conservancy, local garden clubs, Anderson Chamber of Commerce, SC Department of Health and Environmental Control, US Environmental Protection Agency, ICA Engineering (hydrology and wetlands restoration consultant for the site), and other interested members of the community.
The morning began with insights and project background from key stakeholders. Dr. Juan Brown, Rocky River Conservancy Chair, shared his vision for the site: a nature park near to the heart of Downtown Anderson. Matt Schell, Anderson County Parks Department Manager, described the site in detail and the design challenges and efforts to date. Dr. Tom Kozel of Anderson University described ecological features of the site and some of the student studies and education efforts conducted there. Then Barrett Stone of ICA Engineering shared insights and gathered input on the hydrology of the site. In the afternoon, Seamon Whiteside asked attendees to share what they felt what was most special about the site. They showed examples of features that could be incorporated into the design and gathered input on those. Finally, everyone gathered in small groups with maps and stickers and began to do some hands-on expression of their vision for the Master Plan. All plans were presented and the day concluded, leaving everyone with many possibilities to consider.
The Hydrological Assessment and Wetlands Restoration Plans will be completed early in 2014, and the Nature Park Master Plan and Education Plan will be completed and presented to the community by spring.