Beaufort hits snag in plans to improve parking at sports complex

emoody@beaufortgazette.comMarch 17, 2013 

Beaufort officials have a plan to improve and add parking at the Basil Green Recreational Complex, but the project has been stymied by a discussion about who should own the roads around the park.

The state owns the roads now, but when the city asked about putting on-street parking around the complex, the state suggested the city take over ownership, city manager Scott Dadson said.

The city responded that it would consider it if the state provided money for maintaining the roads or repaired the roads before the ownership transfer.

The city hasn't heard from the S.C. Department of Transportation since a Nov. 21 letter that said DOT officials would be willing to speak with the city about the matter, according to Dadson.

Beaufort City Council is set to discuss the ownership question Tuesday during a work session that begins at 5 p.m. at City Hall.

A city plan calls for redesigning the park with a total of 244 parking spaces. Most of the parking now is on grass and looks similar to areas where cars are not allowed, except for "No parking" signs. Parking in those areas will result in a ticket.

Spaces are not marked, so the number of vehicles that can fit depends largely upon how drivers park, city planner Libby Anderson has said.

Beaufort County and the city intend to use state grants to pay for part of the parking project. The county has $21,722, and the city has $4,975. The grants require a local match, so the city would pay an additional $16,797.

That money needs to be spent by 2014, Dadson said, which allows some time to make a decision on road ownership. A year ago, however, officials were optimistic the project would be finished by now.

Meanwhile, the parking problem is likely to get worse, as housing construction is scheduled to begin this summer at the vacant lot at 1403 Lafayette St., where many have parked.

Parking is allowed in the interior of the park, on a section of Lafayette Street and most of Nairne Street.

Follow reporter Erin Moody at twitter.com/IPBG_Erin.

Related content:

City explores Basil Green parking solutions, Feb. 2, 2012

Parking solution could be tied to Lafayette Street project, Dec. 5, 2011

City of Beaufort considers takeover of state streets, July 28, 2012

Lafayette Street project could break ground this summer, March 10, 2013

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