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Pee Dee Land Trust opens new downtown office

on Tuesday, 14 June 2022. Posted in Local News

Pee Dee Land Trust officials and local dignitaries cut the ribbon on the organization’s new downtown office.

Pee Dee Land Trust along with supporters and local leaders recently celebrated a ribbon cutting and building dedication of its new office in downtown Florence at 448 West Cheves St. Dating to the 1950’s, the brick craftsman style home was transitioned in the late 1980’s to commercial office use. PDLT invested in renovations that honor and celebrate the ongoing revitalization in this area of Florence, including repurposing a portion of the property into an urban garden showcasing native plants and trees. “Our land protection work permanently protects the conservation values of landowners’ property and our Board has worked diligently over the last 23 years to ensure organizational stability,” said Pee Dee Land Trust Board of Directors Chairman Keith Williamson. “We were humbled by the most generous gift from Dr. Genie Lee’s estate that allowed us to acquire a permanent base to continue our work in the nine counties in the Pee Dee Watershed.” Since its inception in 1999 as an all-volunteer organization, PDLT has grown to six full-time and two part-time staff members along with a volunteer 21-member Board of Directors. Dr. Lee’s estate gift could not have come at a more perfect time as PDLT had grown out of the rented space they had called home for the past ten years. Staff talked with the Lee family and Dr. Lee’s professional consultants, and everyone agreed the idea to purchase a property to permanently memorialize Dr. Lee’s love for the Pee Dee Watershed was an ideal use for this amazing gift. “Dr. Lee’s estate gift and the choice for PDLT to invest in a permanent home in downtown Florence were very personal for me,” said PDLT Executive Director Lyles Cooper. “I grew up down the street from Genie and her family; she was always so caring and had a smile on her face at all PDLT events. It was very important to me that we created a home for our staff family while contributing to downtown revitalization. We are proud to be able to dedicate our office to Genie. Her commitment to the preservation of the Pee Dee Watershed has truly been an inspiration to the Pee Dee Land Trust community.” PDLT looks forward to further enhancing the property in the future to include an educational pavilion behind the garden. The pavilion will serve as a space for PDLT outreach opportunities with landowners and the public, as well as a space for partner agencies to host land management educational forums. Pee Dee Land Trust focuses on the Pee Dee Watershed, which covers nine counties in South Carolina: Chesterfield, Darlington, Dillon, Florence, Georgetown, Horry, Marion, Marlboro, and Williamsburg. Its mission is to protect, and to promote an appreciation of, the significant natural, agricultural, and historical resources of the Pee Dee Watershed through voluntary land conservation and educational programs. The Greater Pee Dee Watershed is the second largest watershed on the East Coast. PDLT focuses on protecting significant resources from the sandhills along the North Carolina border, all the way down to the Winyah Bay. Current priority focus areas for PDLT include the Black, Waccamaw, Sampit, Pee Dee, Little Pee Dee, and Lynches Rivers, along with major tributaries including Black Mingo, Black Creek, Thompson Creek, Three Creeks. Our overall goal is connecting protected properties to create and grow blueways and greenways throughout our watershed

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