Town of Port Royal keeps moving forward

The town of Port Royal's Cypress Wetlands and Historic Walking Trail is a welcome new attraction that should add to residents' quality of life and draw visitors to the town.

A dedication ceremony May 15 came after almost a decade of planning.

The result is a half-mile-long walking trail with boardwalks and pathways circling wetlands teeming with wildlife. It features an egret rookery in the spring and numerous other species of wading birds and ducks, as well as a rare bald cypress and tupelo swamp.

It has an amphitheater, and interactive boards tell visitors about the birds and trees they are seeing and why the area is ecologically important.

It's a big turnaround for an area off its main thoroughfare, Paris Avenue, that for years was overgrown and full of stagnant water.

Water now flows in and out of the Cypress Wetland as part of a larger scheme to drain potentially polluting stormwater runoff. It now filters through several other wetlands before reaching the Beaufort River.

The Ward Edwards firm with corporate offices right down the street did the design work. The Fripp Island Audubon Club helped the town with a wildlife and plant study.

Port Royal invested about $400,000 in the project.

We hope it results in more people getting off Ribaut Road and taking a look at the town. Port Royal is a wonderful place to live and do business, with its 100-year-old neighborhood elementary school, quaint downtown and access to the Beaufort River.

The town has worked hard to improve the economy and attract people.

It invested in The Shed community gathering place, and recently hired professional managers in an effort to bring more events to it. The Street Music on Paris Avenue series began last week, with future shows scheduled for 6:30 p.m. May 26, June 9 and June 23.

More than anything else, the town has done its part to accommodate the purchase and future development of the 52-acre state port site now fenced off from the public. Town Council has approved borrowing money to make infrastructure improvements and has approved plans for the proposed residential and commercial development that would remake the town if it happens.

Now it is up to the private sector to take advantage of these new opportunities.