Sam's Club donates $35K to GAIT

Sam’s Club, due to open in Aiken in October, has announced major funding for the Langley Pond Loop, an initiative of the Greater Aiken Integrated Trails (GAIT) Foundation. 

In presenting the $35,000 check to the GAIT Foundation, Gerald Raymond, general manager of the local Sam’s Club, said, “The Langley Pond Loop matches a number of Sam’s Club goals of being a responsible corporate citizen, so it was an easy decision to support this project.” 

Raymond met with local officials earlier this year to gain a better understanding of the region and to determine the best ways for Sam’s Club to be impactful in the community. 

Langley Pond, located in the population growth corridor of Aiken County, is the focal point of the project that will support the following objectives:

• protect open space
• encourage health and wellness
• promote tourism
• improve economic vitality
• provide historic information along the trail
• enhance livable communities in the Midland Valley area of Aiken County

The Langley Pond Loop is designed to serve the interests of the equine community and to provide recreational activities for biking, hiking, jogging, and walking enthusiasts.

The lead gift of $35,000 makes Sam’s Club the GAIT Foundation’s first corporate sponsor, according to GAIT President Ralph Cryder.  “This is a perfect example of a private/public partnership for our first project that includes Sam’s Club, Aiken County, the Aiken Land Conservancy, and GAIT,” Cryder said.
 
GAIT Foundation Chairman and President of the Greater Aiken Chamber of Commerce J. David Jameson praised Sam’s Club for stepping up to help fund a major community project even before the company opens its local doors.  “I hope this will inspire the business community to participate in future trail projects throughout the county,” Jameson said.

Construction of the three-mile equine and pedestrian loop at Langley Pond County Park will begin in early 2014.  It is slated to be open for public use later next spring. The free recreation trail will be available on a daily basis.

Sam's Club is an American chain of membership-only retail warehouse clubs owned and operated by Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., founded in 1983 and named after founder Sam Walton. As of 2012, the Sam's Club chain serves 47 million members in the U.S. and Puerto Rico and is the eighth largest U.S. retailer. 

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