About an acre of land on Lady's Island has been purchased for a park along Factory Creek, thanks to an $800,000 donation.
The Beaufort County Public Land Trust purchased the property on Sea Island Parkway, near the Lady's Island boat ramp, last week for $1.45 million. Of that amount, $800,000 came from the Judith Haskell Brewer Fund of The Community Foundation Serving Richmond and Central Virginia.
The rest was paid for by Beaufort County's Rural and Critical Land Program and the city of Beaufort. The county paid about $400,000, and the city pitched in about $250,000. "How beautiful to have funds that go to preserve a beautiful piece of property forever," said Patty Kennedy, executive director of the nonprofit Beaufort County Land Trust, which brokered the deal.
The Brewer fund's advisers have local ties and are familiar with the Land Trust's work. They wrote to Kennedy and said Brewer "believed in uplifting the world through beauty," Kennedy said.
In honor of the donation, the park will include a memorial to Brewer, Kennedy said.
It's a highly visible area, she said, with about 20,000 cars passing by daily.
"This has been on our radar for many years," Kennedy said.
The park plan includes a dock for fishing and crabbing, and the trust will hold fundraisers to pay for its development. Four commercial buildings on the property will be demolished, Kennedy said. The demolition will occur after a one-year lease expires for Tideland Realty's office on the site, she said. The other structures are a former office building, a restaurant and a barbershop.
Beaufort County Councilman Paul Sommerville, who represents Lady's Island, said he hopes the park and dock will improve conditions for boaters and anglers.
"If you ever spend any time down there, you notice that the fishermen and the boaters get in each others way, so obviously, we'd like to solve that," he said.
The land trust works with property owners, governments and private and nonprofit organizations to protect land in Beaufort County. Examples of the trust's preservation efforts in Beaufort include the Bay Street Bluff and Bellamy Curve.
Follow reporter Erin Moody at twitter.com/EyeOnBeaufort.