March 20
SCDOT Commission Conveys Property to Allendale County for use as Educational Greenway, Nature Heritage Center

The South Carolina Department of Transportation (SCDOT) Commission has voted to convey to Allendale County the abandoned Allendale Welcome Center including approximately 15 acres for use as an educational greenway and Nature Heritage Center.

The SCDOT Commission authorized the conveyance at its March 19, 2009, meeting in Columbia.

Allendale County has applied for state and federal grants through the South Carolina Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism (SCPRT). The property will be used to bring attention to the Topper Archaeological Site, where studies have revealed that ancient humans were present about 16,000 or more years ago.

The county’s proposed use includes transportation related activities for public use, including walking and biking trails between Georgia and South Carolina.

The Welcome Center, located on US Route 301, has been closed since 2001. Built in 1969, the facility’s use declined significantly over the years after Interstate 95 replaced US 301 as a main route of travel through South Carolina. At the time of its closure, the Welcome Center was the least visited Welcome Center in the state with 25,620 visitors (compared to an average of 181,311 visitors at the other centers).

The conveyance is free in exchange for the county assuming all liability and maintenance of the old right of way of US Route 301 and the improvements.

"I am very pleased that SCDOT has taken this action to encourage educational and economic development in Allendale County,” said SCDOT Commissioner Henry Taylor, representing the 2nd Congressional District.

"This is another opportunity to provide alternative transportation through walking and biking trails, which can attract tourism to the state and improve the quality of life for South Carolinians.”

The South Carolina Secretary of Transportation is H. B. “Buck” Limehouse Jr. The SCDOT Commission includes Chairman F. Hugh Atkins, 4th Congressional District; Danny H. Isaac Jr., 1st Congressional District; Henry H. Taylor, 2nd Congressional District; Charles E. Dalton, 3rd Congressional District; Sarah B. Nuckles, 5th Congressional District; Marvin Stevenson, 6th Congressional District; and Tee Hooper, Governor’s At-Large Appointee.