An 103-acre empty golf course on Hilton Head Island’s north end will one day be a massive public park.
Until now, though, it’s been marred by downed trees and potentially unsafe conditions.
Late last week, a contractor for the Town of Hilton Head Island started removing nearly 200 dead and fallen trees, according to a news release. The tree removal will cost $350,000, and the Town Council approved the project at its meeting last week. The funding will come from unused money left in the town’s 2019 general fund and unused electric franchise fees.
The town purchased the former Planter’s Row Golf Course, bordered by William Hilton Parkway, Dillion Road and Union Cemetery Road, in 2013.
“The tract has been idle since our purchase. Rather than have it just sit and continue to become overgrown, we decided to initiate some beautification work to give the tract a neat appearance and make it safe,” said Scott Liggett, chief engineer and director of Public Projects and Facilities for the town.
The tree removal work will take between two and four weeks.
During that time, the public will not be able to access the property. Liggett said town staff is working on guidelines for public use of the property once completed.
In addition to removing trees, the contractors will trim trees along the existing golf cart paths.
Ongoing maintenance activities, including bush hogging overgrown vegetation, will continue around the drainage ponds and expand to the rest of the property, according to the news release.
The contractor will install fencing around the property in the more open areas of the land and connect it to the existing cart path system so it is safe for users.
What will be there?
There isn’t a rendering of what the town plans to do with the open space yet.
In the town’s newly adopted Parks and Recreation Master Plan, consulting firm Lose Design suggests that it should be used as a passive or environmental park, not a highly designed and constructed park like the south end’s Lowcountry Celebration Park.
The master plan says part of the site could be redeveloped to include multi-use fields similar to those at the mid-island Chaplin Park, which are used for sports and as gathering places for events like the June Rally for Justice and Change.
Chaplin’s fields, as well as any new fields, would be used as a debris-staging area in case of a storm on the island, the plan says.
— to www.islandpacket.com