The final building has been demolished on land between Factory Creek and Sea Island Parkway on Lady's Island, making way for a passive park and scenic vista.
The Beaufort County Open Land Trust purchased the property on Sea Island Parkway, near the Lady's Island boat ramp, in 2012 for $1.45 million. The Judith Haskell Brewer Fund of The Community Foundation Serving Richmond and Central Virginia gave $800,000, Beaufort County's Rural and Critical Land Program gave $400,000 and the city of Beaufort gave $250,000.
The trust had to wait a year for Tideland Realty and a barbershop to move out before demolition could begin on four buildings on the site. They went down in "fits and starts" as permits were approved and asbestos removed, executive director Patty Kennedy said.
"The impact for residents is so immediate and profound because we've essentially opened this window for every resident and visitor to see Beaufort and Factory Creek and this extraordinary marsh," she said.
The trust is preparing site plans to submit to Beaufort County, Kennedy said. Designs will be minimal, with grass replacing pavement, a walking path, benches and picnic tables. An exisiting dock will be a fishing and crabbing pier.
Parking will be at the southwest end of the property, on the side opposite the Richard V. Woods Memorial Bridge.
Decisions have not been made on how much brush and vegetation to remove, Kennedy said, although she hopes as much will be preserved as possible. The trust has discussed partnering with the Broad River Gardening Club on beautification projects.
Since the land is in a conspicuous spot, Kennedy hopes progress on the plans will make people feel involved.
"So many people drive by it every day that they're going to be part of it whether they mean to or not," she said.
In other changes about town:
- Beaufort Memorial Hospital is moving departments to the Beaufort Memorial Medical Administrative Center at 990 Ribaut Road, across the road from the hospital. The human resources department is among the first that interacts with the public to move and will be open on the fourth floor at 8:30 a.m. Monday. Information: Human resources, 843-522-5680; main hospital, 843-522-5200
- Doctors Care Beaufort will open an OsteoArthritis Clinc on May 1 inside its facility at 1510 South Ribaut Road, Port Royal. Information: 855-344-KNEE, www.DoctorsCare.com/osteoarthritis