Restoring lakefront park is worthy goal

November 25, 2013 

Everyone who lives in or visits York County should be able to enjoy Lake Wylie, not just those who own boats or have houses along the shore. And that is one of the key functions of Ebenezer Park.

The 26-acre park, which is located off Mount Gallant Road and the south shores of the lake just north of Rock Hill’s city limits, features 69 campsites and a waterfront over 300 yards long that provides access for swimming, fishing and boating. But the shoreline now looks ragged after 25 years of wind and water erosion.

The beach has retreated by 40 feet, and sediment buildup has created shallow, silty areas near the shore that aren’t ideal for swimming. The shorefront itself is strewn with rocks and concrete meant to slow erosion but which now make it inhospitable.

The shoreline also is often overrun by Canada geese who feast on the shoots of grass that now grow there, and cover large areas with their droppings. Planners hope that adding more sand to the beach will kill the grass and discourage the geese.

We are glad to see that the County Council has acted to halt the degradation of the waterfront, clean it up and make it more attractive for visitors. Last month, the council hired Habitat Assessment & Restoration Professionals (HARP), a Charlotte consulting firm specializing in environmental restoration to lead the project.

HARP will assess the condition of the waterfront and make recommendations about rehabilitating it. County officials hope work can begin in fall 2014 after the park’s busy summer season ends.

This is a worthwhile project. Residents deserve a clean, safe and attractive park along the lake. And with the camping area, the park also can continue to attract visitors from outside the county.

As park superintendent Pat Morrison notes, restoring the lakefront not only will improve its appearance but also encourage people who use it to help keep it tidy and treat it as more than just a place to put a boat in the lake.

“A boat landing is where you throw trash,” he said. “A park is where you pick up after yourself.”

Duke Energy owns the lake and leases Ebenezer Park to York County. But in a sense, the lake is a public commodity that belongs to everyone.

The public uses it for swimming, fishing and boating, and enjoys the vistas along its shores. It’s important for all residents to be able to take advantage of those activities whatever their income level.

We hope consultants come up with a workable plan to restore the park and make it a more pleasant destination for local families and out-of-town visitors alike. And we hope they repay the favor by helping to police the park and keep it neat and clean.

We applaud the county for pursuing this worthy endeavor.

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