WATER TREATMENT PLANT ANNOUNCEMENT - Taking part in the announcement of Saluda County’s new $20.1 million water treatment plant were, L to R, Jason Fell, Water and Sewer Authority General Manager; Authority Chairman Jerry Strawbridge; Authority board members Al Stevens, Jimmy Gillian and Bob Nelson; Sen. Shane Massey; Rep. Ralph Kennedy; and Rick Adkins and Jan Harman from Third District Congressman Jeff Duncan’s office. (Standard-Sentinel photo)
$20.1 Million Water Treatment
Plant Announced For County
  Calling it the largest economic investment in Saluda County history, Saluda County Water and Sewer Authority (Authority) Chairman Jerry Strawbridge announced a $20.1 Million Water Treatment Plant (WTP) will be built, withdrawing water from Lake Murray. 
  The plant will be funded through a $12,543,000 loan, a $7,133,000 grant from the United States Department of Agriculture - Rural Development (USDA-RD), and a $500,000 match to be paid by the Authority. 
  Strawbridge said the Authority’s goal is for the WTP to serve the needs of all citizens throughout the County, rural and municipal.  This is the first step in obtaining the capacity to achieve the Authority’s goal.
  Strawbridge credited the work of the Authority’s General Manager Jason Fell.  Fell is an engineer and a former employee of the USDA-RD.  He understood and accomplished the steps necessary to make the WTP funding a reality, Strawbridge said. 
  Strawbridge also thanked USDA-RD for their extraordinary efforts.  They were instrumental in obtaining the funding, which includes an unprecedented $7.13 million in grant.  USDA-RD understood the grant allocated would allow Authority to be competitive in selling wholesale water to its neighbors and avoiding price hikes to the Authority’s customers.
    Fell announced, “It’s now time to go to work.”  Fell indicated that the Authority’s Engineers, MBD Consulting Engineers out of Conway, SC and Hulsey, McCormick and Wallace out of Piedmont, SC, have already begun in earnest and are eager to be under construction quickly. The Authority’s Engineers estimate that the project will be bid by early next year and will be under construction by next spring.  Included in the WTP project is a new, 20-inch finished water main to interconnect the WTP with the existing distribution system through a new, 1 million gallon elevated storage tank at the Traffic Circle.  The elevated storage tank will enable the Authority to adequately supply water pressure throughout the County.
  Attending the announcement were Rep. Ralph Kennedy, Sen. Shane Massey and Jan Harman and Rick Atkins from the office of Third District Congressman Jeff Duncan, Authority board members in attendance were Jerry Strawbridge, Jimmy Gillian, Bob Nelson and Al Stevens, and the Authority’s staff.  Sen. Floyd Nicholson, Rep. Bill Cyburn and Van Cato, from Sen. Lindsey Graham’s office, were invited, but each had a prior commitment, as did Authority board member Tim Taylor.  Kennedy and Massey both congratulated the Authority and pledged their continued support of projects that work for the betterment of the quality of life in Saluda County.
  Harman applauded the Authority and all of the political leaders of Saluda County for their commitment to the future.  As a native of a small town, Calhoun Falls, Harman said he understood the importance of projects that spur economic development.  He told how the Calhoun Falls’ airport is now used by officials from nearby industries.  He applauded Saluda County’s upgrades at the Saluda County Airport. He said the airport and the WTP project would pay dividends in the long run.
  Fell praised USDA-RD, specifically mentioning Vernita Dore, Michele Cardwell, George Hicks, and Rusty Craven for their work to make the Water Treatment Plant project a reality in such a short amount of time.  Fell lauded his board for their vision and support. Never has the board waivered from their aim in obtaining funding for the WTP.  “The Board supported me every step of the way.  Jerry, specifically, went above and beyond what is expected of a Chairman.  Without his leadership, this day might not have ever come.”  Fell also deflected praise to his staff.  The Authority has a competent and professional team.  He stated, “My employees make me look good. Each of them deserve a lot of credit for this success.”
  Along with the WTP project, the Authority has two projects already under construction.  A sewer line project on Hwy. 23, funded by S.C. Dept. of Commerce, Aiken Electric Cooperative and Mid-Carolina Electric Cooperative, is under construction. This project will enable the expansion of Amick Farms operations, which will lead to 76 new jobs. The Columbia Farms Feed Mill will also benefit from this sewer line.  In addition, a waterline project is under construction on Spann Road, funded by CDBG. It will provide water to over 40 residential customers as well as Clyde’s Chapel. It also aligns with the Authority’s master plan to provide water to the entire county.
  In conclusion, Strawbridge thanked everyone in attendance for their support.  He said the Water Treatment Plant will be paid for by “a lot of $27 a month water bills.”  The Authority has faith the Water Treatment Plant will also pave the way for growth of its residential customers throughout Saluda County as well as a catalyst for economic growth in Saluda County.


37th Annual Truck and Tractor Pull
  The Saluda Young Farmers 37th Annual Truck and Tractor Pull, “Hottest Pull in the South” will be held August 8th -9th at the Young Farmer Stadium at the County Recreation Complex. 
  The NTPA professional pull will begin at 7pm.  Classes this year include:  2 wheel drive trucks, 4 wheel drive trucks, super farm tractors, modified tractors, and semi-trucks.
  Ticket prices are as follows:  Adult one day passes - $20, Adults weekend passes - $40, Children 6 to 12 - $10, under 5 – Free, and cooler - $5.00.  Credit and debit card ticket purchases will be available at the gate.
  Advance weekend passes (Friday and Saturday) and one day passes are being sold at Rodger’s Fertilizer in Saluda.  Weekend passes will also be available at the gate on Friday night of the pull.
  The Saluda Young Farmer Scholarship winners will be recognized.  The 2014 winners are Chris Ward, Ciara Wertz, Hannah Herlong, and Robert Coleman.  Proceeds from the pull go towards the scholarship program.
  The Ace of Clubs band will play before and after the pull on both Friday and Saturday nights.  Amateur pulls will be held both nights. Bring a lawn chair – stand seating is limited. Also, visit the Young Farmer merchandise table to purchase your official tractor pull shirt.
  Come and enjoy a weekend of high-powered action!
  Check out www.SaludaYoungfarmer.org for the latest information. Like us on Facebook at Saluda SC Tractor Pull.