Mount Pleasant calls special council meeting to discuss Shem Creek Park

A father and son make their way down the Shem Creek Park boardwalk, on the eastern side of the creek. Mount Pleasant is now looking for ways to develop a park on the western side of the creek.

Mount Pleasant will hold a special Town Council meeting Friday afternoon to discuss options for the next phase of Shem Creek Park, the eastern side of the creek near the construction site of a controversial office building at Coleman Boulevard and Mill Street.

The council is expected to discuss the town’s potential need for park property on that side of the creek.

In December, Town Council met behind closed doors and discussed the legalities of using eminent domain to take part of the office building site for a park. In January, council members asked town administrators to gather information about the values of all properties between the eastern edge of the creek and Mill Street, plus a former bank property on the opposite side of Coleman Boulevard.

“Friday is finally bringing it to a climax and saying, we are zeroing in on certain properties,” said Councilman Paul Gawrych, who was joined by council members Will Haynie and Jim Owens in calling for the special meeting.

During the past decade the town has spent about $10 million on Shem Creek Park, with public boardwalks on the western side of the creek and the marsh. The majority of that money was used to buy the former OK Tire property, on about one acre of high ground, a deal struck in 2007.

The town is currently building a continuous public boardwalk along the western side of the creek, connecting to Coleman Boulevard, and next hopes to connect the park on the west side of the creek to additional park features to be developed on the east side of the creek.

Mount Pleasant currently owns a tiny plot of land on the creek between the entrances to the restaurants Red’s Ice House and RB’s, at the end of a public street that’s easily mistaken for the restaurant’s parking lot.

At a January Town Council meeting and retreat, Administrator Eric DeMoura laid out a number of possibilities for what the town is calling Phase 3 of Shem Creek Park, noting that the town has not budgeted any funds.

“This won’t be cheap,” DeMoura told council members then.

The Town Council meeting is scheduled at 4 p.m. Friday in Town Hall, 100 Ann Edwards Lane.