Aiken County wants Langley Pond to be the first place that rowing competitors think of when organizing an event.
On Tuesday, Aiken County Council approved using approximately $146,000 from the State Water Recreation Fund to replace aging docks at Langley Pond as well as expanding its dock system if possible. Assistant County Administrator Brian Sanders said there are a variety of reasons why this is going to make Langley Pond a more viable candidate for regattas and other events.
“Having these new dock pieces and also additional systems will enable us to have better and bigger events,” Sanders said.
Sanders said about a decade ago, they hosted a regatta with 980 participants. As years passed, less regattas were held at Langley Pond as other competing venues improved and became more appealing options for event organizers.
Langley Pond still hosts several events, such as the annual Augusta Invitational Regatta in the spring. But the size of the events are limited due to the current number of docks.
Currently, Langley Pond has 12 wooden dock pieces at the 285-acre pond, which is not enough, Sanders said.
The pond's dock system can only hold small to medium-sized regattas.
Sanders said they would need 18 docks to enable them to hold bigger events, and if they can increase that number to 20, that would be even better.
The new docks will be safer, Sanders added. These wooden structures crack and splinter, which can cause injury to those using the docks.
The replacement docks will be made of recyclable plastic and will have slip-resistant surfaces.
They'll also be more environment-friendly. The current docks are made of pressure-treated wood, which is extremely heavy, so solid Styrofoam is attached to the bottom for buoyancy. Sanders said since it's solid, it's legal to use as it's more durable. It hasn't caused any widespread issues with area wildlife, but there is still a potential for pieces to break off.
The new docks will have the Styrofoam encased in the plastic.
“Luckily this money became available, and now we can do something that's safer for the citizens using the pond, but for the wildlife, too,” Sanders said.
Sanders said they want to attract not just rowers and swimmers, but those who enjoy water skiing, jet skiing and any other water activity they can have on Langley Pond.
“I want to emphasize that a lot of good things are about to happen at Langely Pond,” Sanders said. “There's so much potential for lots of activities.”
Amy Banton is the County reporter for the Aiken Standard and has been with the publication since May 2010. She is a graduate of Randolph-Macon Woman's College and a native of Rustburg, Va.