New park to open July 4 weekend

MOUNT PLEASANT — Fireworks and patriotism will mark the opening of the new Memorial Waterfront Park on the Fourth of July weekend as the town celebrates the culmination of the biggest project in its history.

Dedication ceremonies will begin July 3 and conclude July 5, said Town Administrator Mac Burdette. The Town Council on Tuesday night approved the plan.

Exactly how the opening of the $14 million park will be celebrated was not discussed. Burdette noted that opening the park July Fourth weekend would coincide with the fireworks display at the Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum.

Whether there will be a parking fee at the park on opening weekend has yet to be announced. Burdette has suggested an hourly parking fee of $1 as a way to recoup the estimated $400,000 annual cost of running the park.

The 14-acre park will be next to the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge. It will include a Sweetgrass Cultural Arts Center, a visitors center, a war memorial and a 1,250-foot long pier, the area's longest.

The pier will offer close-up views of the Ravenel bridge and passing cargo ships. The vista will range from the aircraft carrier Yorktown to the Charleston waterfront to Remley's Point. An 8,100-square-foot covered pavilion will be at the end of the pier for dances and other events.

The council approved a contract with Charleston County Parks and Recreation to manage the pier. The 6,200-square-foot visitors center will be managed by the Charleston Area Convention & Visitors Bureau.

The war memorial will include the names of 73 veterans from east of the Cooper who lost their lives in service to their country. Twelve columns will surround the memorial centerpiece, which will be an eight-foot bronze female sculpture. In the woman's left hand will be a tri-folded flag presented to grieving widows and mothers. Her right hand will rest on a World War II helmet supported by a rifle. The memorial will have a fountain.