New parks, buildings and other projects to look forward to over the next 12 months.
It’s a new decade, Lowcountry, and with that comes plenty of exciting and game-changing things to look forward to. The new year begets a new chapter in Beaufort County as projects that have been months, years and even decades in the making are coming to fruition. Here’s a look at the top developments coming online in the Lowcountry in 2020.
Hilton Head Island
Lowcountry Celebration Park
If you’ve driven in the Coligny area lately, you’ve noticed the drastically different landscape that will become the Lowcountry Celebration Park in 2020. The park – located between the Circle Center shopping plaza and the Coligny Beach parking lot – will include a host of amenities including walking trails and boardwalks, exercise stations, and a large lawn and stage to accommodate festivals, concerts and other large gatherings. The Sandbox Children’s Center will move its flagship location to the park, and the playground will feature a boat inspired by William Hilton’s “Adventure” ship that brought him to the Port Royal Sound in 1663. The project also includes over 120 new parking spaces and better access to beach parking. The Lowcountry Celebration Park is a part of the Coligny Area Redevelopment Initiative that also included road projects on Nassau Street, Lagoon Road, South Forest Beach, and other area streets. The town hosted a groundbreaking ceremony in June and expects the park to be completed by the summer or fall of 2020.
Other notable HHI projects
- Shelter Cove Waterwalk Apartments is finishing phase II apartments in Shelter Cove Towne Centre, behind the sheriff’s office.
- Marriott at Heritage Plaza will open a new hotel and rooftop bar on the south end of the island, behind New York City Pizza.
- The old Fire Station 2 in Sea Pines adjacent to Sea Pines Center will be redeveloped.
- A Harris Teeter Fuel Center will open in Park Plaza, at the former car wash site.
- Goodwill will open a new location at the former Golf Headquarters store, near the south end of the island.
- Arbor Nature will relocate its tree-grinding business from Leg O’Mutton Road to a site in the Summit Drive area.
- Slapfish Restaurant will open in the former Circle K gas station location on the corners of Arrow Road and U.S. 278.
- This fall, the South Carolina Department of Transportation will unveil its recommendation for replacing and widening the bridges between Moss Creek Drive and Spanish Wells Road. SCDOT presented six options for the project in late 2019.
Buckwalter Place continues its growth and long-anticipated projects will come online throughout the year. The Don Ryan Center for Innovation’s HUB will open its doors this spring. The 3,000-square-foot space will accommodate the center’s incubation program, SCORE and DRCI mentor space, and a high-tech shared working space. DRCI is the Town of Bluffton’s economic development arm and entrepreneur incubator. Adjacent to the HUB will be the Culinary Institute of the South at the Technical College of the Lowcountry, scheduled to open in the fall of 2020. Not only will the 26,000-square-foot space accommodate 300 students in six classrooms, it also will have two teaching kitchens and two baking labs, a lecture theater and a “teaching” restaurant. An interactive museum in the building will tell the story of Southern cuisine. The program will offer associate degrees in the culinary field. Also underway in Buckwalter Place are the St. Joseph’s/Candler Oncology Center, and Frankie Bones and Chicken Salad Chick restaurants.
Other notable Bluffton projects
- Wright Family Park: Adjacent to the Calhoun Street Public Dock and across the street from the Church of the Cross, this space will be a passive park that will provide more public access to the May River. The town also plans to rehabilitate the Squire Pope Carriage House, which was built around 1850 and survived the 1863 “Burning of Bluffton.”
- New Riverside Park: The Town hosted a public open house in November to gather input on what to do with the 44 acres that house the red barn. Located on the southwest side of the SC 170 Roundabout, the space will be transformed into civic event and open space. The town plans to adopt a master plan in 2020.
Getting to Whitehall Park on foot or on wheels will become a reality in 2020 as the city plans to complete the walkway bridge from U.S. 21 to the new Whitehall Park on Lady’s Island. The bridge will connect Woods Memorial Bridge to the park. In 2018, Beaufort County purchased nearly 10 acres of land and the City of Beaufort agreed to maintain it. The park opened in 2019.
Other notable Beaufort projects
- In 2020, the city plans to upgrade all four of the city’s parks, including new landscaping and playground equipment.
- Develop a plan to address workforce housing needs, and focus on economic development and attracting new industry to the area.
- Build industrial spec buildings in Commerce Park.
- Finishing stormwater projects in Mossy Oaks, and begin the engineering and permitting process to improve drainage in eight other areas prone to flooding.
- Complete the Greenlawn Road streetscape program and the Allison Road stormwater/streetscape project.
- Work with TCL and University of South Carolina-Beaufort to expand their facilities and educational offerings.
The town will complete the renovation and moving of the historic Porter’s Chapel AME, where the late State Sen. Clementa Pinckney preached from 1996 to 1998. The church came to Old Shell Road in Port Royal in 1901, and the last service was in 2004 when the church consolidated with Jerico AME Church. It was slated for demolition until the town agreed in 2016 to restore the church and move it to public property. The chapel will have a new home in the Naval Heritage Park and will display information of Reconstruction, town history, and Sen. Pinckney’s relationship with the chapel. Sen. Pinckney was among those killed at the 2015 Emanuel AME Church shooting in Charleston.
Other notable Port Royal projects
- Complete the town’s section of the Spanish Moss Trail, ending at the Sands Beach area.
- Improvement to the shrimp docks.
- Additional commercial and residential construction is anticipated in the Port of Port Royal redevelopment project.
- Updating the town’s Comprehensive Plan.
- Finalizing the traffic analysis that will guide transportation improvements along Ribaut Road.
- Contemplating improvements to the Sands Beach area, including designated parking and covered seated areas.