by Meghan Daniel for The Island Eye News
After a contentious exit from the Isle of Palms Marina by Tidal Wave Water Sports last month, followed by a unanimous vote by IOP’s City Council to approve a lease agreement with the IOP Families Group for a new restaurant at the Marina, the latest in the wake of change for the area is a plan for public green space.
IOP City Council’s Real Property Committee, chaired by Council Member Ryan Buckhannon, met Nov. 4 to discuss preliminary plans for the space, which is part of a multifaceted revitalization effort at the Marina. This committee, explained Buckhannon, has been tasked with developing a plan to create green space within the five-plus-acre stretch of the Tidal Wave footprint at the Marina. The push for more public green space is a residentdriven initiative that Real Property Committee Member Randy Bell believes will “create vibrancy” at the Marina.
Currently, other green space options on IOP include Leola Hanbury Park, Mayor Carmen R. Bunch Park and the city’s Recreation Center. However, the space at the Marina will be the only public green space on IOP that is located on the Intracoastal Waterway.
During the Committee’s Nov. 4 meeting, City Manager Desiree Fragoso and Building and Zoning Administrator Douglas Kerr presented drawings of the early-stage conceptual plan for the space, designed by IOP resident and landscape architect Kelly Messier. The current plan is a product of ongoing resident input, as conveyed by city government officials, and preliminary meetings with the stakeholders at the Marina: Marina Joint Ventures, the IOP Families Group – represented by Dave and Chrissy Lorenz and Jon and Bridget Bushnell – and the city.
The plan for added green space includes a pedestrian path tracing the perimeter of the Marina and numerous benches along the water, as well as a flagpole, kayak storage, golf cart parking and an entry walk. Fragoso and Kerr explained that although there are logistical challenges regarding the layout of the pedestrian path in coordination with the other stakeholders, the goal is to design a path that will contribute to improving the appeal of the Marina while also preventing congestion among vehicles, bicyclists and pedestrians. Fragoso also noted that although the entry walk would offer a sense of welcome to the space, this part of the design would take up space that could otherwise be used for highly desirable parking spots.
According to Buckhannon, the next steps in this process involve working collaboratively with all of the entities at the Marina in order to figure out an exact layout for the space, then “trying to find a way to fund it.” So far, he said, everyone seems to be on board with the conceptual plan and shares an interest in the common goal of making the Marina “a destination spot, which is what it needs to be.”