April 23, 2024

A long time coming: Beaufort investing $7.1M into Southside, Washington parks

BEAUFORT, S.C. (WSAV) — An investment the City of Beaufort has been promising for decades is finally on its way. Beaufort is investing $7.1M into Washington and Southside parks.

“This has been a promise made to the citizens about 20 years ago, maybe a little longer than that,” said City of Beaufort Councilman Neil Lipsitz.

The city will spend the majority of that investment on Southside Park. Two playgrounds, extra parking and a pavilion are first up on the list of improvements. Beaufort plans to pay for it using a 2% hospitality tax and a 3% accommodation tax.

“As a parent, it’s really nice and especially in a small town to have plenty of places to go,” said Katie Beckwith, a Lady’s Island resident. “And so knowing that my kids can safely come and play here and that the community is invested in it is important to me.”

Lipsitz was elected in 2020 and upgrading Southside Park was high on his list. He said growing up neither he nor his son had a park to play in. That’s why he’s excited to give the next generation of children a place to have fun.

“My son, growing up in this neighborhood, there wasn’t anything like this for him,” Lipsitz said. “The closest playground was downtown Beaufort, which is several miles away. Everybody who lives in the neighborhood, especially those with kids, are extremely happy. I get messages from people in many different ways everybody saying, thank you, thank you.”

Leftover money from the Southside improvements will carry over to Washington Park. There the basketball court will transform into a multi-use court. It will also get a new pavilion.

John Gregor and his wife take their chocolate lab to the Southside dog park every day. He said he was happy to see the giant patch of grass put to use.

“I mean, it’s good for them to do something with all of this space,” Gregor said. “I think there’s certainly a lot of people who would like to use the park.”

The city says phase one construction will start soon and the hope is to complete it by the end of this year.

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