A downtown neighborhood is showing some pretty healthy signs of life on its 100th birthday.
Residents of Hampton Park Terrace gathered in Allan Park Sunday to look over plans to renovate the park and add a new historical marker.
Hampton Park Terrace is a few blocks south of Hampton Park, not far from The Citadel. The Citadel Pipe Band played at the celebration Sunday.
The park has some nice oak trees and a central fountain, but the ground is barren.
Kris and Margaret Furniss moved into a house on Ashley Avenue near the park about 3 1/2 years ago.
A lot of young families have been moving into the neighborhood, and the park is important to them, she said.
"It's a big change from even five years ago," she said of the neighborhood.
Jennifer Kemp moved into a nearby house on Parkwood Avenue almost five years ago.
"This could be a fantastic park," she said. "I just think we need to plant some grass and get some flowers going. I don't know why it's taken so long. It looks like it's getting off the ground now."
Grass hasn't been planted yet because it requires an irrigation system to keep it green, according to Jim Martin, executive director of the Charleston Parks Conservancy, which is working with residents and the city on the project.
The first phase of the renovation includes laying down sod, installing an irrigation system and putting plants throughout the park and around the perimeter. Work can start as soon as residents raise another $3,000, he said. About $12,000 has been raised since last summer.
"In a short few months, you are going to start seeing this park in a way you haven't in many, many years," he said.
The neighborhood is a mixture of old and new, black and white, professional and blue-collar residents, according to Neighborhood Council President Jeff Gleim.
The first houses were built in 1912, stimulated by the opening of the Navy Yard in 1901, according to the marker. It was one of the first planned neighborhoods on the peninsula, Mayor Joe Riley noted.
The renovation of the park is a visible sign of the revitalization of the neighborhood.
"We're thrilled to see the 80-year-old grandmother who has lived here her entire life work with the new couple who has two kids," Martin said. "They're mixing in a way that wasn't happening before. That's very positive."
The second phase of renovating the park includes replacing the concrete sidewalks with blue stone and putting bricks around the fountain.
The historical marker is expected to go up sometime this week. It will go beside the granite marker for the Coastal Community Foundation Center at Rutledge Avenue and Huger Street. The green and white street signs there already say Hampton Park Terrace at the top.
Reach Dave Munday at 937-5553.