Heather Templeton of Charleston has won The Post and Courier’s Golden Pen award for January for her letter to the editor “Losing DeReef Park would be a blow to neighbors, children.”
Ms. Templeton, citing development plans that would eliminate the park, wrote:
“DeReef Park is the last public green space in the neighborhoods of Cannonborough-Elliotborough and Radcliffeborough.
For the last 20 years, it has provided playground space for neighborhood children, dog walkers, the youth of Shiloh AME Church and over 200 participants of the Cannon Street YMCA.”
She pointed out that the park property “was originally purchased by the city of Charleston in 1981 with a grant from the federal Land Water Conservation Fund,” and that another LWCF grant funded “the development of a gazebo, playground, walkways, landscaping and roadways.”
And: “By accepting the grant money from LWCF, the city is required to maintain this property, replace facilities as needed, have an official LWCF sign posted in the park and, most importantly, restrict the use of the property to public outdoor recreation in perpetuity.”
However: “The covenants can be converted to another parcel of property if it is of equal fair market value, usefulness and location.”
She added: “The replacement property identified by the city ... is a small portion of property known as Concord Park. ... The city will build a beautiful waterfront park on Concord Street, but the families, students and retired residents of Cannonborough-Elliotborough and Radcliffeborough neighborhoods also deserve a park near their homes.”
She concluded: “Is the replacement park down on Concord Street equivalent in usefulness and location? Have all practical alternatives been reviewed by city leaders?”
All good questions.
Golden Pen winners are invited to an annual luncheon with the editorial staff.