Charleston Co. Council defers discussion on James Island park proposed for Folly Road

JAMES ISLAND, SC (WCSC) - The Town of James Island is looking to put a park at the intersection of Camp and Folly roads on the lot of the former Subway.

Before the town can begin transforming the space it has to have approval from Charleston County Council to use or lease the property because the county owns it.

Improvements to the intersection of Camp and Folly roads were just completed by the county to improve traffic flow.

Officials with the Town of James Island believe a pocket park would be a good addition.

A pocket park is a small park usually created in a space of vacant building.

Wun Brown has lived on James Island all of his life. He thinks it's a good idea.

"I think it's neat to see something go from man-made structure like a Subway to something more green like a park. I feel like that's perfect. I feel like that is so essential," Brown said.

The town administrator says the the property is a bout a third of an acre.

A proposal includes putting in a fountain plaza, a buffer of trees, benches, and a bus shelter.

There are two concepts plans at this time, one that includes an open lawn and another that includes adding more parking spaces.

Not everyone agrees on the park idea.

"There's no reason to have a small little park there at all, it's a dangerous spot, there's nothing but traffic that's all it is," one James Island resident said.

Others said they had those same concerns.

The town administrator says the idea to transform the space comes from the "Rethink Folly Road" study that encouraged transforming small parcels of land to make a positive change and improving the appearance of some areas.

James Island resident John Steele says he supports the idea.

"I think it would be perfect for the locals," Steele said.'It will have visual appeal definitely and you can sit there an enjoy the fountain honestly and just relax with it."

Charleston County owns the property and is in the process of deciding how they will allow the town to use it.

The county council was seeking to transfer money from the Greenbelt Fund to purchase the land on behalf of the town of James Island, but is now reconsidering that idea.

Charleston County Councilman Joe Qualey says he requested to defer the park agenda item on Tuesday night's council meeting so county council could consider other options.

Qualey says one of the options could be leasing the property to the town for one dollar a year as long as the town is responsible for maintaining the upkeep of the property.

The Town of James Island will be seeking public input on ideas for the park after the town finalizes the leasing or purchasing plans with the county.

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