City of Charleston moving closer to adopting new parks plan

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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – City of Charleston leaders have been working for months to update a master plan that looks at the future of parks and recreation in the city. Using public input, outside consultants, and comparisons to various towns and cities across the country, the ‘One Charleston Parks & Recreation Master Plan’ is nearly ready to be adopted.

Tuesday evening, the findings of the plan were presented to the parks and recreation committee.

City of Charleston parks are a hit among the locals and tourists and leaders want to keep it that way. The plan takes city growth and a changing population into account.

“The City of Charleston has been looking for several years, a number of years, at updating our parks and rec master plan understanding we’ve had growth, changing population,” said Laurie Yarbrough, the Director of Recreation for the city.

The city hired a consultant and put out a survey to see what the people of Charleston are looking for in city parks.

“We need to figure out what our citizens want and need in terms of parks and recreation facilities and we need to grow with them and make changes,” said Yarbrough. “So, as new things come in new trends, new populations, new wants, we have to have those facilities for everyone.”

Findings from the survey and other methods of public input found Charleston residents would like to see more paved bike paths, art performances, concerts, and trails. For the most part, the responses were positive.

“Mostly what our residents said is ‘we love our parks, we want them updated.’ So, that’s a great thing to hear is ‘we love what we have and we want you to continue to upgrade and give us more new playgrounds, more pickleball courts,'” said Yarbrough.

The plan looks at all five districts in Charleston including the Downtown Peninsula, James Island, Johns Island, West Ashley, and Daniel Island/Cainhoy Peninsula.

“Folks don’t want to go from one side of town to the other. They want to be able to do the parks and rec activities in their part of town.”

You can read the full master plan here.

Next week, the Parks and Recreation Committee is expected to make a recommendation for city council to formally adopt the plan.

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