City, county use grant funding to improve parking at Basil Green

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Approximately 70 on-street parking spaces will be organized on three streets at Beaufort’s much-used Basil Green Park through an agreement among the city, Beaufort County and the state Department of Transportation.

The parking improvements are part of Beaufort’s Civic Master Plan and have been needed for years. On a typical night of soccer or baseball, parked cars and trucks jam the narrow greenways surrounding the athletic fields, Beaufort City Manager Scott Dadson said.

“This is going to make a huge difference not only to the people who visit and use the Basil Green Park, but also to all those people who live along the roads near the park,” Dadson said. “On a busy sports night, some residents couldn’t even pull out of their driveway because of all the cars parked every which way.”

In a Joint Use Agreement adopted by both city and county leaders, they agree to use S.C. Park and Recreation Development (PARD) grant funds for approximately 70 on-street parking spots around Basil Green. This includes about 38 parallel spaces on Rodgers and Lafayette streets and 33 angled spaces on Nairne.

The city and county will each contribute $21,772 to the project in a combination of grant money and local match money. Beaufort leaders have worked with the S.C. Department of Transportation in the design of the on-street parking and use of the right of way.

“The County Parks and Leisure Services team really stepped up to make this a true partnership, recognizing the importance of the Basil Green complex to county recreation and the issue we face with parking,” Dadson said.

The local legislative delegation, led by S.C. Sen. Tom Davis (R-Beaufort), approved the project and its use of grant funds.

Almost two years ago, Beaufort Planning Director Libby Anderson presented a plan to formalize and add parking at Basil Green to bring the number of spaces to 244. She noted in the February 2012 meeting with the Beaufort Redevelopment Commission that parking at the complex was haphazard and created inconveniences for all involved.

“Obviously this is something we’ve been working on for a long time,” she said today. “Now that we have all the necessary parties in agreement, and we have a way to pay for it, we’ll get it moving as quickly as we can.”

Redevelopment Commission Chairman Jon Verity said the park is an important hub of activity in the center of Beaufort. Located downtown near the Beaufort National Cemetery, Basil Green Park is among the most-used recreational sites in Beaufort and Port Royal.

“I’m glad we are going to get this done and taken care of,” Verity said. “It’s so important to the people who live here, and to the people who may someday live here, that we maintain and improve our recreational facilities. Certainly part of that is providing adequate parking.”