City purchases waterfront land for West Ashley parks

The city of Charleston has purchased two pieces of waterfront property in West Ashley that eventually will become city parks.

Colleen Carducci, the city’s real estate management director, said the city purchased a 30-acre parcel at 1717 Wappoo Road for $980,000 last month. The parcel, site of the former WPAL radio station, is mostly marsh, with about 1.3 acres of highland, she said. It also includes a building and a dock on the river.

In December, the city purchased about an acre on the Ashley River at the end of Bender Street in the Maryville-Ashleyville neighborhood for $350,000. The site, all of which is highland, sits not far from Higgins Pier.

All of the land will be used for parks, she said. “The city now is evaluating what the specific, appropriate uses will be.”

City Councilman Bill Moody, a longtime supporter of the city purchasing the Wappoo Road property, said the site includes a building, but not the radio tower.

Now that the land has been purchased, he said, “we’ll put together a group of neighborhood people and parks people to decide how to proceed.”

The land isn’t yet open to the public, and there is a barrier blocking the pier. Moody said he doesn’t know how long it will take for the city to open up the property, “but it will be sooner rather than later.”

The city wants the land to be used, he said, “but we don’t want bands playing out there at 10 p.m. We don’t want the neighbors disturbed.”

Councilman James Lewis, who represents the Maryville-Ashleyville neighborhood, said the city’s purchase of the Ashley River site will benefit neighborhood residents and anybody else who wants to take in a striking view of the river.

The property has been overgrown for years, but Lewis said the city eventually will clean it so people can use it.

He said the city made a wise purchase because if it hadn’t acted, “one of these days a developer might have bought it.”

Reach Diane Knich at 843-937-5491 or on Twitter @dianeknich.