The Charleston County Park & Recreation Commission is planning an 85-acre park with striking views of the Stono River and the John F. Limehouse Bridge at the gateway to Johns Island.
Right now, it has no money to launch the plan to build Stono River County Park, Julie Hensley, the commission's director of planning and resource management, told dozens of people gathered at a public comment session Tuesday at St. Johns High School on Johns Island. The commission currently is gathering public input on what the park should include, so the plan will be ready when money becomes available. "It really all depends on funding," Hensley said.
Tuesday's meeting, the second public meeting on the park, included presentations on two different plans.
One plan would include overnight accommodations, including cabins and campsites.
The other would include a public shelter facility, and a shelter facility that people could rent.
Both plans would include a trailhead for the nearby West Ashley Greenway, trails, a kayak launch and public restrooms.
Hensley said park commission leaders will review public comments and then develop a final master plan by Sept. 22 and post it on the commission's website.
She also said the land was previously set to be developed, but it then was donated to the commission in 2012. "People consider the park a good alternative to the development that was in progress."
Marie Langlois, from the consulting group Stantec, said the park will provide passive recreation opportunities such as hiking trails. It won't include things like baseball fields, she said. "This is a park for nature lovers."
She also said the plan will consider nearby housing developments. "We are surrounded by neighbors and we want to be a good neighbor as well."
Herndon McElmurray, who lives near the proposed park, said he wants the site to remain natural so he can see alligators and deer.
"But I want a developed park where people can access the land." Right now, it's so wild nobody can use it, he said.
The 85-acre site is situated in the West Ashley and Johns Island areas of the City of Charleston. It includes about 25.3 acres of highland, a 12.2-acre marsh island and 48 acres of marsh adjoining the Stono River.
Information on future plans for the park is available at www.charlestoncountyparks.com/StonoRiverCountyPark.
Reach Diane Knich at 843-937-5491 or on Twitter at @dianeknich.