A meeting to kick off an effort to revive the Patriots Lake project has been postponed.
The 6,500-acre lake, which would be formed by damming Tyger River and Fairforest Creek in the Sumter National Forest, has been touted by proponents as a needed source of water for the county and the Upstate, a spur to economic development and a recreational boon for the county, and possible source of hydroelectric power.
In 2008, the project drew the opposition of environmental groups who claimed it was unnecessary and instead called for the area to be developed for “green tourism.”
A study conducted by U.S. Army Corps of Engineers found that while the lake was “technically possible” it was not economically justified. The study projected that the benefits generated by the lake would not be enough to justify the estimated $187 million it would cost to build it. The study also concluded that the Upstate has sufficient supplies of water to meet its needs until 2030.
Proponents criticized these findings, pointing out that it did not take into consideration the combination of projected population growth in the Upstate and the continuing problem of drought. They also questioned the report’s conclusions about the economic benefits of the lake and the projected cost of its construction, pointing out that consultants who analyzed the project had concluded it could be built for much less.
In the years since, little has been done regarding the lake, but local businessman Ted Trantham hoped to change that with a public meeting which would kick off a new drive to get the lake built.
The meeting was scheduled for 10 a.m. Sept. 7 at the Jonesville Municipal Complex and Trantham had invited a wide range of local, state and federal officials, including members of South Carolina’s congressional delegation to attend.
The delegation members invited included Fourth District Rep. Trey Gowdey, Sixth District Rep. Jim Clyburn, and U.S. Sens. Jim DeMint and Lindsey Graham.
On Friday, Trantham announced that due to scheduling conflicts, the members of the congressional delegation invited to the meeting would be unable to attend. He said he was postponing the meeting, but hopes to reschedule it for a later date when the members of the congressional delegation will be able to attend.
Trantham said he remains committed to the Patriots Lake project, pointing out that it will serve as a second source of water that will benefit both Union County and the Upstate. He said the purpose of the meeting is to bring the people of Union County together to support the project. He urged the public to get behind the effort and get the lake built.