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Five reasons to look on the bright side of 2022

Another year, another 365 days of exciting updates to the Lowcountry’s landscape. The new year will bring in a number of additions to public spaces across the region. Ranging from new public parks to updates to the most loved spots in town, 2022 promises to keep Hilton Head, Bluffton and Beaufort looking their best as town managers and parks and recreation teams from each town work tirelessly to improve the quality of life for the communities they serve. Keep your eyes peeled as you drive through downtown Beaufort or find an accessible hideaway at Islander’s Beach Park for improvements that are sure to make you fall in love with this area once again. Whatever part of the Lowcountry you call home, this upcoming year is brimming with optimism for the future of these communities and how wonderful life can be living here.

History gets a facelift

New Riverside Barn Park

Set to feature a new playground, multi-purpose trails, restrooms and events spaces, the New Riverside Barn Park in Bluffton is building off the bones of the area to create a new public space for people of all ages to enjoy. The new park will be centered around an existing barn, which was originally constructed as an advertising billboard. Rather than tear it down, the Town of Bluffton is using it as a site of inspiration to ground a vision of an expansive social space and passive park. “With 37 acres in the fastest growing area of Bluffton, the Riverside Barn Park will be the town’s largest park and offers the community a multi-purpose venue for large-scale festivals as well as intimate events such as weddings,” said Bluffton Town Manager Stephen Steese. Plans for the project include outdoor gardens, increased porch spaces, a catering kitchen and an outdoor kitchen designed for barbecues and oyster roasts.

The beach is easier to reach

Islanders Beach Park terrace 

Mid-island, nestled within a wall of oak trees is “someplace only we know.” Islanders Beach Park is a hidden gem of Hilton Head Island, offering beach access to those with beach parking permits, along with some limited metered parking. It has gained a reputation for being a locals’ beach, and the town of Hilton Head wants to make sure that anyone and everyone who wants to can enjoy and appreciate the space. In response to a resident who approached the council about making the park more accessible, there is a plan to build a terrace (a little smaller than the example shown in the photo) that will provide an accessible way for people to see the ocean without having to navigate through the sand. In addition to the mobimat path that creates a walkway from the boardwalk to the water’s edge, this new terrace will create a patio area where people can watch the sunrise with ease. 

Less traffic, need I say more?

Parallel Road 

If you have ever been to Beaufort, you’ve likely driven down Boundary Street and taken the picturesque corner onto Carteret Street, called Bellamy Curve. The road dissects the town of Beaufort and functions as the backbone of its social and cultural life, given the many stores, restaurants and businesses that line it. As more and more people have been flocking to the area for love of its community, nature and lifestyle, traffic in the area has increased as well. To alleviate the buildup of vehicles and to keep traffic flowing smoothly, the Town of Beaufort is planning to build a road which will run parallel to Boundary Street. They will be hosting a kick-off meeting with Mead and Hunt, the company that will be surveying the area in early 2022.

There’ll be no raining on our parades

Point Study Project 

Life never goes as we plan it. Luckily, when things go awry, the City of Beaufort is always ready to plan something new to set things back on track. Given its namesake as the Lowcountry, coastal communities in the area have an elevation quite close to sea level. When a storm comes through and it rains for days on end, the historical down-town area of Beaufort occasionally floods. Enter The Point Study Project, an initiative to update the city’s infrastruc-ture and to mitigate the chance of flooding in the event of a major downpour. Engineers from Davis and Floyd have been hard at work installing monitoring systems across the area, so the infrastructure updates in 2022 can be as accurate as possible. Rain or shine in 2022, every day will be a great day to walk the streets of historic Beaufort, thanks to the updates provided by this upcoming project. The City hopes to present preliminary design proposals to the Beaufort City Council and hold holding public meetings to share them with the community.

All roads lead to home

Depot Road and Spanish Moss Trail updates

Something about the Spanish moss draped on the oaks makes the coastal South feel like home. It is hard to say one has seen all the beauty of the Lowcountry without having taken a stroll down the Spanish Moss Trail in Beaufort. The 10-mile-long greenway boasts unparalleled views of the region while giving visitors a paved space to bike, run, fish or walk through the marshes and forests that make the region so beautiful. In 2022 Beaufort County will be working with the Friends of Spanish Moss Trail in order to create streetscaping on Depot Road. This work will extend the trail and strengthen its connection to the downtown area. By working with this community-based nonprofit, Beaufort County is investing in ways to connect residents and visitors to the phenomenal work being done by locals in the area.