A Spanish galleon is returning to Port Royals.
Construction on a new playground at Naval Heritage Park, site of the popular Saturday farmers market, will begin Monday. The set will be modeled after the old, multi-decked ship used by 16th-century explorers such as the ones who founded the Santa Elena settlement on what is now Parris Island. Built adjacent to a skate park, town and farmers market, officials hope the playground allows an outlet for smaller children during the farmers market and slower times during the week.
The town chose the design of Phillip Pinckney, owner of Just for Fun Playgrounds near Charleston, for the $25,000 project. Pinckney's work includes playgrounds for Fripp Island, Beaufort Academy and various churches and parks in Beaufort County, some that include shrimp boats.
"We thought hard about doing something different," Parks and Recreation chairwoman Jane Abrams said. "We wanted him because we wanted the wood and the feel of when he builds a playground, but we did not want what everybody else has."
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The 10-foot by 40-foot design will include:
"They wanted something that was absolutely original," Pinckney said in August after first meeting with the town. "As far as I know, there is nothing quite like this in our area."
With the nearby skate park a target for graffiti, the town is hoping the rogue artists ignore the new investment. Signs will be in place warning violators that the park will be closed if vandalism continues.
Church groups are scheduled to paint the skate park and gazebos in the park on Saturday.
The new playground will include benches, garbage cans and bike racks provided by the farmers market.
"It's a joint project, and hopefully it will be a good addition," Abrams said.
Follow reporter Stephen Fastenau on Twitter at twitter.com/IPBG_Stephen.