Time capsule placed, to be uncovered in half-century

Khalil Pearson (from left), Eric Center and Quincey Pinckney hold a time capsule at James Island County Park.

In 50 years, solar-powered cars will dive underwater, dig underground and fly through the sky, and you’ll only need one if you don’t have a teleporter.

At least, that’s what Eric Center and Quincey Pinckney think.

“I truly think the world will be a cool place to live,” wrote Eric, a Mitchell Elementary third-grader.

The two, with Khalil Pearson, were writing for an essay contest hosted by the Charleston County Park and Recreation Commission, their guesses at life in 2062 recently were immortalized.

That’s the year when the park commission will dig up a time capsule at James Island County Park on May 23, 50 years later.

Their essays will sit beside the vestiges of life in 2012, including a rundown of the popular culture, a cellophane-wrapped Twinkie, a BlackBerry phone and that Wednesday’s edition of The Post and Courier.

The trio’s submissions were picked from the field of 30 students in county after-school programs who entered the contest.

And if their predictions are right, the world’s in for some dramatic changes.

Quincey, a fifth-grader at Oakland Elementary, expects a world populated with new technology: flying cars, teleportation and virtual parks accessed with special goggles. “Virtual parks will not be as good as the real thing because you cannot smell the air,” she wrote. “I prefer the real thing.”

Khalil, a Mitchell Elementary fourth-grader, peppered her paper with promises along with prognostications.

By 2062, she wrote, she hopes to have invented headphones for the deaf, glasses for the blind and a time machine “to study animals of the past.” And that’s just a sampling of her ideas.

While Khalil sets out for a career of prolific invention, Tom O’Rourke has concerns of his own. The executive director of the parks department is worried more about where the county’s green spaces are headed.

The Charleston area is growing quickly, so the department has snapped up what land it can, doubling its property to a total of 10,000 acres in the past four years.

“We have to be responsible for the future generations and their needs too, not just ours,” he said.

Don’t expect more growth for now, though, as O’Rourke said the office is focusing its attention to improving the land it has. That starts with building more walking paths and, eventually, new attractions, such as water parks.

But whether flying cars dart through Charleston or the city resembles something closer to the sketches of “Eric City” that Eric draws, some things might stay the same.

“I have an iPhone,” O’Rourke said when he was asked why the department opted to immortalize an increasingly outdated BlackBerry. “That’s still going to be around.”

Reach Thad Moore at 958-7360 or on Twitter @thadmoore.