After years of planning, the city of Beaufort is ready to begin work on a 30-acre passive park on the site of the old Beaufort Jasper Water & Sewer Authority water treatment facility near Southside Boulevard.
The city will host a ribbon cutting at Southside Park from 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday featuring remarks from officials, a bike parade and refreshments.
City Manager Scott Dadson said the park will serve as an arboretum with a dog park and trails for pedestrians and bicyclists. The city allocated about $260,000 for improvements, he said, adding that BJWSA will provide in-kind infrastructure and site improvements.
City Council members voted unanimously Tuesday to share with Port Royal and Beaufort County the cost of creating a pond in the park. Engineering and design plans for the pond, which also serves as a stormwater management tool, are not yet complete so the cost is unknown, Dadson said.
Plans for the park began percolating about six years ago, when BJWSA offered the site to the city. However, big plans for the space have been scaled back, in the hopes that someday the park will match the dream laid out by the Southside Park Planning Advisory Committee. A 2004 estimate pegged its project costs at about $3 million, but city officials have said the city can't maintain a park of that magnitude, at least not now.
Mayor Billy Keyserling said the city will make improvements incrementally, ideally with help from residents and the private sector.
"Instead of having a huge budget and paying a construction company to come in and build something bigger than we can afford, we're going to get it cleaned up and add features over time with partners throughout the city," Keyserling said.