Three months after Hurricane Matthew, the Town of Hilton Head Island is still working to reopen several parks, though they could remain completely or partially closed for weeks or longer, town officials said Friday.
Jarvis Creek and Green Shell parks are the latest public recreational spots to reopen on the island, the town announced Thursday. Three parks remain closed — Crossings and Chaplin Community parks along with the Honey Horn property.
Scott Liggett, town director of public projects and facilities, said Friday it is unlikely that Chaplin or Honey Horn will open before spring. Crossings could open by the end of the month, he said.
Chaplin and Honey Horn are currently being used as hurricane debris-processing sites, Liggett said. Debris removal is expected to last into the spring.
Julian Walls, town facilities manager, said the town is considering requests to open the tennis courts and dog park at Chaplin at an earlier date.
“The dog park and tennis courts may not be damaged, but because of the excessive amount of movement from large trucks, there is a safety issue,” Walls said. “That is why staff determined to close the entire park.”
The town is considering creating pedestrian entrances to the tennis courts and dog park that could limit those risks, Walls said.
“We just don’t know at this point if it would be feasible,” he said.
Crossings Park, which isn’t being used as a debris site, could be open by the end of the month, Liggett said, adding that a drainage project underway at the site before the hurricane could delay the opening.
Fencing and lights at the park were damaged during the storm and need repairing, Liggett said. The plan is to have the park open before baseball season starts, he said.
The Rowing and Sailing Center has been opened, but the damaged docks remain closed, Walls said, adding it is unknown when the docks will be repaired.
“The actual main dock just has a little bit of railing damage, but it’s the floating part of the dock that we are waiting on,” he said.
The dock uses a unique “SeaFlex anchor system,” Walls said.
“It uses expansion cables buried in the sea bed, and we feel they are broken,” he said. “Because of the uniqueness of the system, (an engineering firm contracted by the town) wasn’t able to give us the assessment we needed and wanted to put a bid out for repair.”
Walls said the town is waiting for the original contractors who built the dock to do a review of the cable system. Once that is complete, a bid will be released, and a timeline for repair should be available, he said.
Liggett said Friday while most island parks have reopened, all of the town’s pedestrian trails remain closed. He said the town can’t effectively monitor the safety of the trail system while debris continues to be stacked in rights-of-way.
Here is a list of what is still closed and what has opened, according to a town news release issued Thursday:
▪ Crossings Park
▪ Chaplin Community Park
▪ Honey Horn
▪ Alder Lane Beach Access
▪ Burkes Beach
▪ Coligny Beach Park
▪ Driessen Beach Park
▪ Folly Field Beach Park
▪ Islanders Beach Park
▪ Mitchelville Beach Park
▪ Compass Rose Park
▪ Fish Haul Creek Park
▪ Green Shell Park
▪ Jarvis Creek Park
▪ Rowing and Sailing Center at Squire Pope Community Park (docks closed)
▪ Shelter Cove Community Park
▪ Barker Field (bathrooms closed)
▪ Betsy Jukofsky Xeriscape Garden
▪ Bristol Sports Arena
▪ Cordillo Tennis Courts
▪ Hilton Head Park
▪ Island Recreation Center
▪ Old House Creek Dock