After more than two years of planning and preparation, the pace of construction on the Judith Haskell Brewer Memorial Park on Lady's Island is picking up.
The park overlooks Factory Creek near the foot of the Richard V. Woods Memorial Bridge, just past the Lady's Island Boat Landing on Sea Island Parkway, and is owned by the Beaufort County Open Land Trust.
Trust executive director Patty Kennedy said two attempts to grow grass by hydroseeding -- a process in which a mixture of seed and mulch are sprayed over prepared ground -- failed, so an irrigation system will be installed and sod laid.
The project is coming together with the assistance of a number of local businesses and agencies, Josh Bell, the trust's land-protection coordinator, said.
Beaufort County Public Works built the parking area and tilled the area to be sodded. Craig Henry of Henry Farms is donating the sod, which could be in place by May 2.
Grayco sold lumber to the trust at cost for parking stops and barriers to keep cars off the grass, Bell said.
Boat trailers and customers for nearby businesses will not be allowed to use the parking area, he said. The park will be open only during daylight hours, and towing will be enforced.
The trust bought the land for $1.45 million in 2012 to use as a passive park and scenic vista. The Judith Haskell Brewer Fund of The Community Foundation Serving Richmond and Central Virginia gave $800,000. Beaufort County's Rural and Critical Land Preservation Program gave $400,000, and the city of Beaufort gave $250,000.
The Brewer fund's advisers have local ties and are familiar with the land trust's work, according to Kennedy. The advisers wrote to Kennedy, saying Brewer "believed in uplifting the world through beauty."
The trust waited a year for Tideland Realty and a barbershop to move so all four buildings on the property could be demolished. That was completed in April 2013.
The trust plans to replace pavement with grass and add a walking path, benches and picnic tables. The dock on Battery Creek will become a fishing and crabbing pier.
In other changes about town:
- The grand opening of the new Beaufort County Coroner's Office will be at 11 a.m. Monday at 1804 Old Shell Road, Port Royal.
Coroner Ed Allen, the Beaufort County Sheriff's Office, Port Royal Mayor Sam Murray and County Council Chairman Paul Sommerville will serve as hosts for the event.
Formerly home to the county's Disabilities and Special Needs department, the building underwent an $850,000 renovation. It will also house the sheriff's Victim and Juvenile Services and a morgue.
- The town of Port Royal plans to fill in some of the rough spots and potholes on Sands Beach, where vehicles and golf carts drive to get to the shore, according to town manager Van Willis.
The project needs approval from the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control's Office of Ocean & Coastal Resource Management, he said.
- City of Beaufort officials reported Friday that people should be able to park on both sides of Bay Street in downtown starting this weekend. Those parking areas have been closed for sidewalk construction and installation of new street lights.
Some parking spots on the north side of Bay Street will be closed next week. The south side between Carteret and Charles streets has been completed. After Bay Street work ends, crews will move to side streets.
Work is also continuing at the intersection of Charles and Bay streets to install new traffic signal mast arms.