Anderson resort could open floodgates for future development.

When Karen Alayne McCullough came into the world, the doctor told her parents she would never walk.

McCullough was born with spina bifida, meaning split spine, but would be climbing trees only a few years later.

Still, the idea of what it would be like to explore her world on wheels alone never left her mind.

Now, as the CEO and president of Lake Hartwell Development Group, McCullough hopes to open up the joys of her adventure-seeking childhood to adults and children alike, including those with disabilities, at one of the country's only treehouse resorts compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

"It has made me very mindful what people go through and mindful of where we all are, a few seconds away from any of us being handicapped at any point in life," she said, adding that COVID-19 also has made her more aware of how quickly anyone can be physically impaired. "I don't take that for granted."

Local contractors that the group has partnered with have designed a network of ramps leading to the treehouses, while structures closer to the water may be accessed by an elevator of sorts. Kitchenettes and bathrooms in the treehouses will also be designed for guests on wheels.

"We wanted to make it available for the young and the young at heart," she said. "None of us know what we're going to face, so we're just trying to put that in our plans progressively going forward."

Anderson-based Lake Hartwell Development Group plans to bedeck the grove at their newest recreational park, The Shores of Asbury, with at least 12 treehouses in the future, joining prospects for eight to 10 tiny house cabins, a "glamping" yurt village with heating and air conditioning, floating tents, a raised-bed primitive campsite with WiFi and an RV campground.

These accommodations radiate from the Shores of Asbury's prime feature: a floating waterpark dubbed "The Aqua Zone." McCullough said that it will be the only one like it in the state and will accommodate a maximum of 150 guests. Adults and teens will have their own area, resembling a buoyant American Ninja Warrior obstacle course, she said, while visitors of all ages will be able to enjoy waterslides and trampolines.

Keeping guests with disabilities in mind, the park's boat docks will be built with wheelchair lifts for access to the lake's swimming arena and the park's lakeside restaurant.

"It doesn't matter what you have going on in your life," McCullough said. "There's healing powers in just getting out in...

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