Town investing in additional property near Bend on Ashley

The Summerville Town Council on Thursday authorized the town attorney to negotiate a contract to purchase 1.18 acres of property immediately adjacent to the town-owned land in Oakbrook near the Ashley River. The vote was unanimous.

The purchase is contingent on the appraised value of the property, which council members agreed should not exceed $225,000.

Located at the corner of Old Trolley and Ladson roads, the vacant property could serve as a gateway to the Bend on the Ashley, a proposed park for the 34-acres adjacent to the Herbert H. Jessen Boat Landing.

Protecting this local treasure was the catalyst for Councilman Bob Jackson running for office. He worked to preserve the land by preventing the development of condos on the acreage and now he envisions the future park to have an education center and a kayak or tube rental facility but most importantly, he wants to keep it wild and undeveloped. The area already provides picnic areas and a boardwalk for visitors to take in the peaceful view of the Ashley River. Despite its close proximity to Dorchester Road, the park offers a piece of paradise that seems far away from town.

“You can come out here and you almost do not hear the traffic- you can be out in the wild,” Jackson said. “It’s leaving town, in town.”

Jackson said the 1.18 acres is valuable to the town because it is the high property above the floodplain. He said the location would be ideal for building permanent structures such as the education center, boat rental facility, or even a restaurant. He wants to keep the riverfront land natural and so road frontage would be more suitable for any buildings.

The town’s outgoing director of parks and recreation agreed. Doyle Best said during the standing committee meetings on Monday that the 1.18 acres could be included in a master plan that is being developed for the park.

“Our thought is that with the town purchasing this piece of property it would be kind of the gateway into all of our other property,” Best said. “It is a prominent piece of property at the corner; having an interest in controlling how that is developed would be important, I feel, to the town.”