Church Creek Plaza park plan presented

Church Creek Plaza park plan presented
January 22 07:38 2020 Print This Article

St. Andrews Parks and Playground Commission has a proposal to convert 5.7 acres of concrete along Church Creek into a passive park. Executive Director Kevin Walsh made a presentation on the park plan to more than 80 residents Tuesday at St. Timothy’s Anglican Church. Walsh has until January 31 to submit a grant application to the Charleston County Greenbelt Advisory Board to purchase the land and transform the property.

A conceptual drawing for the park, pictured above, was developed by West Ashley architecture firm HLA. It includes landscaping and trees, a walking trail, a park and possibly a retention pond. Walsh noted that the park concept is in line with the recent Dutch Dialogues study to improve drainage in the Church Creek drainage basin and other areas. Walsh also reached an agreement with St. Andrews Public Service District to relocate Fire Station 3 from its current Ashley River Road location to the proposed park property on Parsonage Road. The fire station would be landscaped, include restrooms available to the public and a community space. The vacated fire station would be converted to green space.

The property has been abandoned for a long time and is owned by the Scholnick family from Troy, Michigan. In 2015, the former Church Creek Plaza shopping center was demolished. It has been largely vacant for more than a decade after the Piggly Wiggly grocery store closed there. In the coming days, Walsh will seek a real estate appraisal and contact a representative from the Scholnick family to determine if they it would sell the property at appraised value.

There is also a commercial component in the park plan. Walsh is negotiating with the owner of the Advanced Auto Parts property to agree to purchase a one-acre parcel from the Scholnick property on the Ashley River Road access to enhance the property value. The parcel would likely be used for retail, possibly a restaurant.

The Greenbelt program is funded by the 1% Charleston County transportation sales tax. It is used to preserve rural land and also convert urban and suburban land into passive park space. If St. Andrews Parks and Playground submits a grant application this month, it would likely be reviewed by the Greenbelt Advisory Board in March. If it is determined to be a worthy project, it will likely be sent to Charleston County Council in May for funding approval. Community members who want to weigh in on the project are encouraged to contact Walsh: Play@StAndrewsParks.com.

During the public comment period, several residents expressed concerns about the current appearance at the Scholnick property. There is rampant weed growth, numerous truck rigs parked on the pavement, and oil residue from the rigs, which washes into Church Creek. Concerned residents may submit code violation complaints by taking pictures and sending them to Planning@CharlestonCounty.org and copy County Councilmen Brantley Moody (BMoody@CharlestonCounty.org) and Vic Rawl (VRawl@CharlestonCounty.org).