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Swimming, fishing, picnicking. Duke Energy plans for a new Rock Hill riverfront park

Two men fish along the banks of the Catawba river near the dam at the Fort Mill Access Area. The city of Tega Cay and Duke Energy are working on a plan to create a new recreation facility in the area that would be called Catawba Park. The design phase is nearly complete, but federal regulator has to approve plans before they can proceed.
Two men fish along the banks of the Catawba river near the dam at the Fort Mill Access Area. The city of Tega Cay and Duke Energy are working on a plan to create a new recreation facility in the area that would be called Catawba Park. The design phase is nearly complete, but federal regulator has to approve plans before they can proceed. Fort Mill Times file photo

Duke Energy is moving forward with a waterfront park in York County, to include fishing and swimming among other uses.

The new park will be on the western side of India Hook Road, touching both Lake Wylie and the Catawba River on the Rock Hill side, where the two meet, according to the York County Zoning Board of Appeals applications on the county’s website.

Duke will present its case Thursday night for public service use for the property to the county zoning board of appeals.

The 20-acre site is partly wooded, with Duke transmission lines on it and a South Carolina Department of Natural Resources field office, which will be relocated, the document shows. The Rock Hill park is considered passive recreation, meaning there won’t be sports fields or similar amenities.

A preliminary site plan shows a swimming beach on the lake and multiple fishing, picnic and parking areas.

Duke started its federal hydroelectric relicensing process more than a decade ago. Duke brought in scores of stakeholders for the agreement required to continue operating hydro stations along the Catawba River. Part of that agreement included recreation improvements.

Duke filed a recreation management plan stemming from that agreement in late 2016. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approved it in late 2017. The plan includes the York County site, to include fishing stations, picnic areas, swimming, restrooms and parking.

The Rock Hill site is one of several on the Catawba chain of lakes to add swimming. However, on Lake Wylie, the only public swimming site is at Ebenezer Park in Rock Hill. Tega Cay also has a swim beach open to residents.

The Duke recreation plan includes other improvements on Lake Wylie, including restrooms at Buster Boyd Access Area, a 48-acre campground at Allison Creek Access Area, restrooms and picnic tables at Fort Mill Access Area and more canoe/kayak launches.

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