Our family has lived at the southern edge of Hampton Park for 10 years. It is a wonderful green space, unique within the city because of its large size. When you are in the park, the peace and solitude are unlike that available in any other place in the city.
Since the creation of the biking and pedestrian lanes on Mary Murray Boulevard, we’ve noted a welcome and significant increase in the recreational usage of the park. The interior receives more use now than it did 10 years ago.
While we appreciate everything that the Charleston Parks Conservancy has done to support and improve our park amenities, we are concerned with the proposed changes aimed at energizing Hampton Park.
We agree with the proposals to renovate the stables and old caretaker’s cottage at the northern edge of the park. These structures deserve improvement, and the Conservancy’s plan seems smart and feasible.
We have concerns, however, about the use of the cafe structure in the park. As a passive park, we believe that the city-sanctioned consumption of alcoholic beverages and allowing amplified music would be a huge detriment to the quiet enjoyment of the park. This structure is positioned well within the park, and would be a beachhead for further growth of commerce, which the park does not need.
The enclosed cafe space is very small, lacking even bathroom facilities. We are concerned that we’d next be faced with proposals for additions that would be “critical” to the survival of any business that leases it.
We would prefer that the cafe structure, built in the 1980s, be removed if alcohol sales, amplified music and future modifications are necessary to ensure its commercial success.
Hampton Park does not need to be energized in this way.