City of Beaufort officials are grudgingly putting together a list of almost $30 million worth of projects for consideration, should county voters approve a 1 percent capital project sales tax this fall.
"You're sitting with five people who oppose this process," Mayor Billy Keyserling said during a city council meeting Tuesday night. "This is a terrible process."
Keyserling dislikes what he calls "the politics" involved in having municipalties pitching projects to the Beaufort County Capital Project Sales Tax Commission, the panel that will create a list for County Council to veto or approve.
Keyserling said a local option sales tax would have been more practical and would have offered property tax relief for residents.
Historic Beaufort Foundation board president Conway Ivy said the list of projects would likely have to include a big project in the northern half of the county to sway voters.
At the top of the city's list is a $16 million parking garage and a $3.5 million Henry C. Chambers Waterfront Park expansion that must be seen as a single project, council members said.
"They can't be split," Councilman Mike Sutton said. "I can't support either one separately."
The Waterfront Park project would expand the park into the Beaufort Downtown Marina parking lot, potentially taking up 150 spots there.
Those numbers aren't firm and aren't based on engineering studies, city manager Scott Dadson said.
The park costs are based on a decade-old plan to add green space.
The parking garage estimates are from recent work with Structured Parking Solutions, which is interested in the project.
The price includes $1.3 million for acquiring land on Port Republic Square; $6.3 million for a 450-space garage; and $8 million for liner buildings to house businesses and mask the garage, Dadson said.
"These are our best educated estimates, based upon value and some research we did," he said.
City council's next priority is using $2.15 million to renovate Southside Park from the largely grassy space it is now into a more usable space with trails, a playground and dog parks.
The list of capital projects could also include:
- A new road network for Beaufort Plaza: $1.2 million.
- Basil Green Park: $1.125 million.
- Greene Street streetscape: $1.95 million.
- Greenlawn Drive steetscape: $1.25 million.
- Duke Street streetscape: $900,000.
- Beaufort Commerce Park spec building: $2.2 million
Follow reporter Erin Moody at twitter.com/IPBG_Erin.