Public parks should be a priority of the administration of Charleston, a city in many ways defined by its green spaces. The city has plenty of money for projects deemed worthy, such as promoting the city to outsiders. For the administration to say it does not have the money to maintain city parks is shameful.
In recent years, the Parks Conservancy has been created to oversee our city parks. Why create a new bureaucracy with salaried employees to do a job that should be done by the City Parks Department? How many people are employed by the conservancy, what are their salaries, and what is the conservancy’s relationship with the city? The conservancy aggressively encourages neighbors to work in parks near their homes. Relying on volunteers to maintain public parks is not realistic or sustainable.
Public parks should not be expected to make money. Parks are passive places of rest and recreation for residents. City tax dollars should pay for the maintenance of existing parks and the creation of new ones. Hampton Park is the largest green space on the peninsula, and city (or park conservancy) plans should be carefully scrutinized. Once the damage is done, there will be no undoing. The debacle of DeReef Park shows what happens when greed takes precedence over green.