BEAUFORT, S.C. (Jan. 10, 2024) – City Council approved on Tuesday a $7.1 million Parks and Tourism revenue bond that will help to fund improvements to Southside Park and Washington Street Park.
The 15-year bond, which will be funded through the City of Beaufort’s local hospitality and accommodations tax revenue, will help to fund the first phase of Southside Park master plan improvements as well as improvements to Washington Street Park. Plans for both parks have been shaped by steering committees composed of neighborhood residents and City staff.
Also at Tuesday night’s meeting, Council authorized City Manager Scott Marshall to contract with Nix Construction Co., Hilton Head Island, to begin the first phase of construction at Southside Park. This entails two playgrounds (for younger and older children), new parking, a pavilion, pathways, and new infrastructure, including stormwater drainage, landscaping, utilities, etc. The contract was for $3.3 million, and construction is expected to begin in the first quarter of this year. A date for groundbreaking will be announced.
In early 2021, City Council convened a Southside Park Task Force to come up with a plan for improvements to the 34-acre park, which anchors the Mossy Oaks neighborhood, and has the City’s only dog park. Councilman Neil Lipsitz, who lives in the Mossy Oaks neighborhood, was the liaison to Council. The park currently offers green space, playing fields, walking paths, as well as the dog park, but has no playground nor other amenities.
In January 2022, following the Task Force’s recommendations, the City contracted with Woods + Partners to develop a Master Plan for the park, which City Council subsequently adopted.
(Playground graphic at top right, and master plan graphic below.)
Washington Street Park
A Washington Street Park Design Committee, composed of neighborhood members and City employees, was convened in 2023 to provide input on improvements to the historic park, located in the Northwest Quadrant. An updated master plan will be presented to City Council later this month or in February.
Improvements will include a new pavilion, and the relocation of the basketball court to become a multi-use court. The City has received grants, which it has matched, to pay for some of these improvements. The rest will be covered by the bond revenues. This work is expected to be completed by the end of 2024.