FORT MILL — The two story castle in Regent Park that has served as a landmark and a community conversation piece for more than 20 years is being demolished. But before the building could be torn down Tuesday afternoon, York County officials made crews stop work.
Once known as "King's Castle," the castle was part of the Heritage USA theme park, and later the water park, that attracted visitors to Fort Mill from around the country.
The property is owned by Morningstar Ministries.
Rick Joyner, head of Morningstar Ministries, said that the castle was being torn down to create something "the whole community could use."
The castle hadn't been in use since at least the 1990's. Joyner said that Morningstar considered refurbishing it but didn't think that would be cost effective. Among the ideas being considered for the area are a dog park, he added.
Crews began the demolition Tuesday morning but work was shut down around 4 p.m. when county officials put a large, red "stop work" sign on the property.
A demolition permit is required by the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control, however DHEC had no records of a permit being filed in York County for any demolition work between March 1 to April 15.
"York County was first on the scene but DHEC has also been out there and we're told they (Morningstar) would take the necessary steps to be in compliance," said DHEC spokeswoman Lindsey Evans.
A Morningstar media relations official said Joyner would not answer any questions about the demolition permit.
MorningStar filed against York County in January to dispute the countys claim that the organization defaulted on an agreement to renovate its 21-story Heritage USA tower.
In 2007, MorningStar began renovating the tower and in January 2008 signed a development agreement with York County.
The ministry says the countys default notice has caused significant financial harm, making it almost impossible to renovate the unfinished tower.
The two parties tried mediation but could not come to terms. As of earlier this month, the county had not yet filed an answer to MorningStars suit but planned to file for an extension to the answer period deadline.
York Countys attorney could not be reached late Tuesday afternoon.