FORT MILL — Developers of the 332-acre Kanawha community plan to construct a road that will connect the “green” residential community to a new museum being built along the Catawba River.
The new road would run off Sutton Road down to the neighboring, 60-acre site of the museum, being built by the York County Culture & Heritage Museums.
Last week, Kanawha’s developers and museum representatives filed for annexation into the town of Fort Mill. If approved, this will be the next step toward construction of a museum that’s been in the works for nearly a decade.
The request asks that future accommodations and hospitality taxes collected by the town of Fort Mill within the museum property and Kanawha help fund operating expenses of the new museum. Construction of the road will allow museum staff to begin summer programming, possibly including a museum summer camp, at the museum site next year.
“You have to be pretty rough and ready to get down there now,” said Owen Glendening, deputy director for interpretation for the museums.
“When the road is built, we will begin adventure and nature-based programming,” he said. “We likely will introduce some visitor amenities and staging areas first. The museum will be built in phases.”
Kanawha is a cooperative effort between the Sustainable Development Group — a subsidiary of the York County Culture and Heritage Foundation — and Cherokee Investment Partners. Kanawha’s land plan calls for 337 single family homes, 111 townhomes, 167 apartments and a 40-acre commercial village. Homes are expected to range in price from the mid-$200,000s to $700,000.
Plans show the community’s commercial district in the northeast section of the 400 acres off Sutton Road. A nature preserve adjoins it to the west, and a “green” elementary school site off Grady Hope Road lies west of that.
Kanawha also proposes donating land for a police substation.
Kanawha developers hopes to build a visitor center first, including a model “green” home near the future museum. Plans call for the model home to be solar powered and include cutting-edge energy sources and environmentally-efficient techniques.
“The community will be super in-tune with nature,” said Allen Harrington, development manager. “The museum is the focal point of this community.”
Harrington has led acquisition and development of the Ballantyne Country Club, The Sanctuary and Springfield in the Charlotte-Fort Mill area, and others. His Hidden Lake project in North Raleigh was named 2008 Green Project of the Year by the National Association of Homebuilders. He also was 2006 International Recipient of the John James Audubon Environmental Steward Award.
The new museum, planned on a bluff overlooking the Catawba River at the southern end of the some 400 acres, and Kanawha will feature walking and biking trails, a mile-long river walk, a welcome center along the Carolina Thread Trail and substantial acres of green space.
The first homes to be built in Kanawha probably will be near the elementary school at the northern end of the project, Harrington said.
Karen Bair • 547-5253