BERKELEY COUNTY, SC (WCSC) - Berkeley County officials are hoping to reopen flood-ravaged Cypress Gardens in 2018.
The county's number one tourist attraction suffered almost $1 million from last October's historic flood.
Berkeley County spokesman Michael Mule' says it's taking a long time to repair the damage due in part to red tape.
"A lot of folks have said well man, it's taking so long to get there, but the reality is just because we're a government doesn't mean that we get to skip the the line as far as FEMA's concerned or insurance is concerned," Mule' said.
Mule' says several improvements will be made and that phases one and two will be done at the same time.
Officials plan to repave three-quarters of a mile of the inner walking route.
"So that folks in wheelchairs, folks with strollers will be able to enjoy what they haven't been able to enjoy previously," he explained.
Mule' says at the same time county will repair some bridges and purchase new boats.
"So the folks who want to re-create the scene from 'The Notebook' will be able to do so in a brand new boat off a brand new boat launch in our beautifully restored gardens," Mule' said.
Mule' says county council recently approved the expenditure of $1 million in insurance money for repairs at the gardens.
He says a capital campaign will soon be launched to raise more money.
"Please be patient with us as we do this because I can assure you that everyone in the Lowcountry will enjoy Cypress Gardens to a whole new level than they did before."
Eighteen employees at the gardens were laid off after the flood.
Currently, there are eight on the payroll, according to Cypress Gardens director Heather McDowell.
McDowell says she plans to add more staff when the gardens reopen.