MONCKS CORNER, SC (WCSC) - Berkeley County could soon launch a major fundraising campaign to raise money towards reopening and renovating Cypress Gardens.
The gardens closed indefinitely in Oct. 2015, following extensive damage from the 1000-year flood. The attraction, which includes boat rides on a black swamp and a butterfly house, has been featured in numerous national magazines and popular television shows and motion pictures including The Notebook and The Patriot, its website says.
"Cypress Gardens is a prized gem for both Berkeley County and the State, and attracts visitors from around the world," said Berkeley County Deputy Supervisor of Administration Tim Callanan. "That's why County leaders are not taking this work lightly and aim to have the Gardens reopened by Spring/Summer 2018."
According to county documents, insurance and FEMA funds will reopen the garden with a repaired dock and limited public facilities. But county officials will also review a study Monday that tests whether a capital campaign could further benefit the Moncks Corner attraction.
"Berkeley County has moved forward on aspects of the projects that are under our control, and we're working with FEMA to repair much of the other damage," Callanan said. "We also hope to have a capital campaign to help raise additional funds for other necessary repairs and improvements."
The proposed campaign "Bloom: The $6 Million Campaign to Rebuild Cypress Gardens" would look to add three new buildings to the gardens, including an
environmental education center, visitor's center and conference center. Cypress Gardens has been operated by Berkeley County since 1996 but according to county documents, applying for 501(c)3 non-profit status would allow the county to run a fundraising campaign and accept charitable donations towards the project.
The Jan. 2017 study gauged public interest in fundraising and project priorities. Results prioritized the environmental education center and visitor's center, ultimately recommended a fundraising goal ranging from $800,000 to $1 million.
The Community Services Committee is scheduled for 6 p.m. at 1003 Highway 52 in Moncks Corner.