Charleston County's Park and Recreation Commission will hold a meeting Tuesday night to seek feedback on how and what stories it should share about the Old Towne Creek County Park as development continues.
The meeting, which will run from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at the Orange Grove Charter School in West Ashley, will include a presentation on work that the county has done since buying the property in 2011 and what is planned for the next year, Land Resource Planner Adam Ronan said.
The park is off Old Town Road and is about 67 acres, just south of the Charles Towne Landing State Historic Site. When the county agency announced the sale, its officials said they envisioned their county park as an extension of the state's park.
Charleston County Parks staff currently oversees mowing and landscape maintenance. Since the purchase, county staff installed a dock on a creek, stabilized some existing houses on the site and started clearing some trails.
About 11 acres are available for development, Ronan said, and plans include an event pavilion, an outdoor learning center and a visitor center in one of the houses.
"We're asking the public to weigh in on how best to tell the story about the park, whether it's the people who owned the park, who worked in the park, the story of West Ashley, the history of truck farming," Ronan said. "Our hope is that this park will be a true amenity for all Charleston County residents, especially West Ashley residents."
From the early 1900s to about the 1950s, the land was used for small-scale crop farming. Its former owner, Emily Ravenel Farrow, used it as a country retreat away from her family's downtown home. She loved horses, so there are some existing horse trails and barns. The park is surrounded by marshes and tidal creeks.
In 2017, Charleston County Parks staff received feedback on the master plan for the site. That planning includes the development of a pavilion. Construction is expected to start in mid-2020 and be completed for a late 2021 opening.
Currently, the park is only open to the public for special events, like Wine-Down Wednesdays.
The project is estimated to cost $9 million to $10 million with funding coming from various agency sources, Ronan said. The Design Minds, a Virginia-based contractor hired for the latest planning component, is being paid approximately $47,000, Ronan said.
The Design Minds also was hired for planning the interpretation of the county agency's McLeod Plantation site on James Island.