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The Cooper River Marina in North Charleston. File/Staff 

The Cooper River Marina faces an uncertain future, but the public soon can weigh in on what should happen there.

Last year, the Charleston County Park and Recreation Commission floated the idea of scuttling the 125-slip marina but instead asked staff to come up with a master plan for the site.

At a Dec. 13 public meeting, staff will present two alternative options, both of which involve converting the 25 acres of high ground there into a more typical general-purpose park, Senior Planner Matt Moldenhauer said.

Both plans include elements such as trails, boardwalks, large lawns and multipurpose shelters. 

"Although there are some alternative concepts, it's really up for public discussion as to whether anything in those concepts becomes part of the final master plan," he said.  

The PRC aims to finalize its plans for the site by the middle of next year. 

The Cooper River Marina was once part of the Charleston Naval Base, serving as a recreational facility for those working and stationed there. After the base closed two decades ago, it was acquired by the county's parks department. It's about two miles north of the Ravenel bridge. 

For the last fiscal year, which ended in June, the marina made a net income of roughly $334,966, PRC spokeswoman Sarah Reynolds said. It's also home to eight people who live on boats docked there. Transient boaters dock at the marina and live there for shorter periods, she said.  

The marina's future has been threatened by the Hugh K. Leatherman shipping terminal under construction next door, a 280-acre facility that will receive massive cargo ships capable of carrying 18,000 metal containers at a time.

If the marina closes, it would be a significant blow for area boaters looking for an economical dock near the Charleston Harbor.  

Previously, the PRC also discussed leasing out the marina to a third party operator, as the city of Charleston has done with its City Marina. If the county continues to operate it, it eventually would have to find a way to pay for millions of dollars in needed repairs and upgrades.

Reynolds said all three options — closure, keeping it open, leasing it to a third party — remain on the table. 

The public input meeting will be held from 6-8 p.m. in the cafeteria of Military Magnet Academy, at 2950 Carner Ave. in North Charleston. Rather than a main presentation, those dropping by can share their thoughts with the county's staff.

The PRC will collect additional feedback in an online survey that will go live after the meeting, at

Reach Chloe Johnson at 843-735-9985. Follow her on Twitter @_ChloeAJ.