August 2019 Park of the Month: St. Julian Devine Community Center
In an effort to improve a well-used park on the upper peninsula, the Charleston Parks Conservancy has partnered with the City of Charleston and the Eastside community on a plan to renovate the playground and park area at St. Julian Devine Center.
This downtown Charleston community center is located in a historic industrial building, renovated and repurposed in the 1970s for use as a civic building. Today, the center and surrounding park serve as an educational and recreational space managed by the city’s Recreation Department. It is one of a number of public facilities that serve the diverse communities of Charleston’s upper peninsula.
The St. Julian Devine Community Center is an educational and recreational resource managed by the City’s Recreation Department. The Center offers a variety of classes, such as pottery and ceramics for adults, sweetgrass basket weaving for seniors, Gullah cultural art classes, and after-school and cooking classes for children.
It is an important gathering space for the community; however, the park and playground are small, barren spaces surrounding the center. The City of Charleston has committed to making significant additional improvements to the Center’s interior, and, together with the City of Charleston and local residents, the Conservancy and City will renovate the outdoor spaces to create a beautiful, green, inviting environment, which will reflect the mission and work of the St. Julian Devine Community Center.
The Conservancy has been meeting with community members and designers on renovation plans. The following is a list of potential changes to the park:
– Remove the berm remaining from the site’s earlier uses and significantly expand the park’s lawn area for active play and passive relaxation.
– Create a welcoming, gated entrance into the Community Center.
– Construct a seasonal garden with a decorative fence for protection from traffic along East Bay Street.
– Plant shade trees along a new terrace.
– Redesigned and renovated playground to serve children 2-12 years old.
– Addition of a half-sized basketball court with shaded seating.
The project’s private fundraising goal is $250,000. The Conservancy is seeking donations and business partners to sponsor the project. The City and the Conservancy expect to break ground on this project by Fall of 2019. To make a donate to the St. Julian Devine renoavtion click here.