Riverfront park on DI’s Cooper River moves forward
The north side of Daniel Island is set to welcome a new public riverfront park, thanks to a recent $4 million deal between the South Carolina State Ports Authority (SCSPA) and Berkeley County government that is now closer to being fully funded, with closing set for late 2024.
The approximate 115-acre parcel on Daniel Island’s northwestern side, known as the North Island Tract and originally planned as part of the SPA’s Global Gateway, sits between the end of Seven Farms Drive behind Talison Row Apartments and the Cooper River.
The parcel was unanimously approved for purchase by the Berkeley County Council at its June 26 meeting.
At that time, the county planned to pay for the land with $1 million coming from the South Carolina Conservation Bank, $2 million from the county’s penny sales tax “Greenbelt” program, and $1 million from additional grant funding.
State Representative Mark Smith recently said that, with the cooperation of community leaders and several members of the Berkeley County legislation delegation, the final $1 million needed for the land purchase is likely to come through the South Carolina Office on Resilience. “This is a beautiful example of how different levels of government along with community leadership engagement can come together for the good of the community as a whole,” Smith said.
Berkeley County Councilman Josh Whitley, a Daniel Island resident representing District 2, played a role in securing the county funds for the land purchase. He said, “This project was likely to be a development for more houses, but we had one shot to conserve it for all generations to come.”
The park is being planned to include trails and likely a pier. The Daniel Island Community Fund pledged $250,000 toward the park’s future programmatic development needs and enhancements.
Whitley said that the closing date for the purchase will be the fourth quarter of 2024, though the park’s completion timeline is yet to be determined. He said that the community will play a significant role in shaping the park, making it a collaborative effort.
Daniel Island citizens are already coming together with ideas for the park. Resident Lou Valente favors keeping an ecological feel to the marshlands.
“We’ll need a parking lot that’s permeable and simple, a walkway to the island and walking paths and boardwalks over the wetlands,” Valente said. “This could be the beginning to a generational goal for walkable trails around the entirety of Daniel Island.”
Fellow islander Kim Sermersheim is excited about the prospect of the coming park.
“I welcome the new county park as a much needed relief from the intense and high-density development underway on Daniel Island and the Cainhoy peninsula. This 115-acre jewel will preserve the area’s natural resources and provide residents with access to numerous healthy outdoor activities. For residents, it is a unique opportunity to offer our ideas, support and collaboration. The park’s design and operation will be a valuable asset for generations to come.”
Daniel Island Neighborhood Association president Andrea Sullivan shared her enthusiasm for the preservation of the land instead of development. “Now, we will have this wonderful public park that protects and improves this marshland ecosystem instead. This is a 180-degree change from the worst outcome to the very best.”
NOTE: This story was updated online to reflect that the final $1 million in funding to purchase the park has not been finalized but that a likely source is the South Carolina Office of Resilience.