Washington Street Park receives new playground equipment

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By Mindy Lucas

A park in downtown Beaufort is set to receive new playground equipment for toddlers and older children this week, city officials say.

Washington Street Park, in the Northwest Quadrant neighborhood, will receive a toddler structure that features slides, climbing steps and a spinner, according to a news release from the City of Beaufort.

The cost of the equipment is $37,000, and a grant from the South Carolina Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism is covering approximately $29,000 of the cost, the release stated.

Also coming is a structure for older kids that includes slides and climbers – a prize won by the city’s Downtown Operations Director Linda Roper in a raffle held at the South Carolina Recreation & Parks Association Joint Conference in September 2019. The equipment is valued at $36,000.

Some existing playground equipment will remain at the park. Much of the older equipment dates to the 1970s, the release stated. The park is being revitalized in phases. In 2019, restrooms were installed.

Known for its community gatherings, including free Friday night suppers offered by local churches, community “Night Out” events and many other celebrations, the park was developed in the 1940s as the Beaufort County Negro Recreational Center by African-American leaders – the only park in the city at the time for black families and children, according to the release.

The City of Beaufort manages the park for the non-profit, comprised of descendants of the original families who founded the park.

City planners hope to hold a community celebration of the new equipment sometime after it is installed.