The shoreline at Ebenezer Park has seen better times.
The jagged waterfront, which features panoramic views of Lake Wylie, is covered with large rocks and bolstered by chunks of cement attempts to lessen the impact of wave action that has nearly sunk a nearby shelter.
High water and wind have caused major deterioration to the area, said park superintendent Pat Morrison, who, along with three rangers, is responsible for maintaining the full 26 acres of the York County-owned parks grounds.
We want our park to be nice, not for people to walk away with a bad taste in their mouth, he said.
The York County Council last month hired Habitat Assessment & Restoration Professionals (HARP) of Charlotte to lead the shoreline restoration. The council is scheduled to finalize a contract with the firm later this month.
HARP will assess 925 feet of waterfront that has experienced substantial erosion for the last 25 years, county documents show. A recent topographical survey of the area showed that the shoreline has eroded 40 feet from its original reach in the 1960s.
Increased sedimentation in parts of the shoreline also has created shallow waters in some parts of the park.
Ebenezer Park, off Mount Gallant Road on the south shores of Lake Wylie, opened in 1988. It features a campground and a popular recreational area for boating, swimming and fishing.
Morrison hopes the restoration will not only rehabilitate the parks shoreline, but public perception of the park itself.
Were just trying to change peoples mindset of our park, he said. What they think about the park in the end will change how they treat it.
Many locals dont view the area just outside the northern city limits of Rock Hill as a park, Morrison said, but as a place to put boats in the lake.
A boat landing is where you throw trash, he said, A park is where you pick up after yourself.
The county also is looking to expand the parks beach in an effort to improve the shoreline and encourage visitors to take advantage of the lakefront. That space now is filled with grass that attracts Canada geese, which leave behind droppings.
By adding more sand to the area, Morrison said, the hope is that geese will be deterred from staying in the area and give park visitors a more sanitary space in front of the lake.
A second try
HARP was selected from seven firms in South Carolina and North Carolina that submitted bids to assess the park for improvements. The company provides restorative and consulting services for streams and other sensitive ecological areas, according to its website.
This is the second time the county has sought a consulting firm to help it redevelop the park.
Another North Carolina firm, Stewart Engineering, was hired in February 2012, but county officials said the firm and county administrators couldnt agree on a budget or the scope of the work. Stewart also didnt specialize in environmental restoration, Morrison said.
It just didnt work out, he said, so the county terminated the agreement.
Whatever recommendations HARP develops must meet standards and guidelines set by Duke Energy, which owns the lake and oversees much of its waterfront, including several access points.
Ebenezer Park is popular with visitors and locals who use its 69 campsites.
Nancy Chamberlain, 65, originally from Kingston, Wash., was walking her dog along the shoreline on a recent Wednesday afternoon.
Its really nice to have a water view, she said.
Chamberlain and her husband stayed at the park in a camper for several weeks while traveling through the South to Florida. She said she liked meeting fellow campers and local residents who eat lunch at the park.
Morrison hopes work on the shoreline can begin in fall 2014, after the parks busy summer season ends.
Jie Jenny Zou • 803-329-4062