City breaks ground on new DI community recreation center
Sporadic afternoon rain showers may have put a bit of a damper on the September 27 groundbreaking ceremony for the new Daniel Island Community Recreation Center in Governors Park, but to Charleston City Councilman Gary White, who spoke at the event, along with Charleston Mayor John Tecklenburg and the City’s Director of Parks Jason Kronsberg, the weather was rather symbolic. “The liquid sunshine that we’re feeling I think is a reminder of why we need indoor recreation areas,” said White, who told those gathered he has worked on the project for “no less than nine years, maybe 10.” “So it’s very appropriate that it’s raining on us.” Despite the wet conditions, the mood was celebratory as city officials, members of the center’s design team, and other community representatives gathered to commemorate the official turning of dirt on a project many have dubbed as “a long time coming.” “We’re excited about kicking this project off,” stated Kronsberg. “When I started and got involved and engaged in this project, my children were young enough that they would have been able to participate in using this facility,” added White. “And now two are in college and one is in high school. Their time may have passed, but for generations to come, once this building is built, many, many children from Daniel Island and across the Cainhoy Peninsula are going to be able to enjoy a fabulous facility.” White, who called the new center “a tremendous asset” for the entire city, talked about the transition between former Mayor Joe Riley’s administration and the new one ushered in by Tecklenburg upon his election. Any fears that the project might stall in the process, quickly dissipated, added White. “Within the first week that the Mayor took office, we sat down and the first thing I said to him was we need to get to work on the recreation center,” he recalled. “And I’m happy to say he hasn’t even finished his first term in office and we’re breaking ground on this facility. Something we hadn’t been able to do in a long time.” “I was one of the first 200 homeowners here on the island and lived here about eight to 10 years on and off myself,” commented Tecklenburg, during his turn at the podium. “It’s just become a remarkable vibrant part of our city…And it’s just fulfilling to me, personally, to be here today and to be able to be part of finalizing the commitments that the City has made to our citizens here and improving and increasing the quality of life for our Charleston residents on Daniel Island and the Cainhoy Peninsula. It’s an honor and a privilege.” The significance of the day was not lost on Daniel Island resident Frank Walsh, who has served on a Daniel Island Neighborhood Association subcommittee for the new center for several years. “It’s finally happening,” noted Walsh after the ceremony. “With any finite budget, there are compromises. The City almost doubled what the original budget was and we feel we got a good compromise for all the different generations on the island. Would we like more? Absolutely. We have things for the older generation to my daughter’s, to my grandchildren’s. This is at least a great start for this community.” After remarks were made, the group of dignitaries and key players on the project moved to a row of shovels positioned in the ground nearby – the rain stopping just as they grasped the handles and tossed dirt into the air in unison. “We have broken ground!” exclaimed Mayor Tecklenburg. “We are official!” Construction on the new facility is expected to take up to two years to complete.