Charleston Parks Conservancy Launches $125,000 Campaign to Renovate Colonial Lake

Colonial Lake Needs Your Help
In an initiative to preserve one of Charleston’s most beloved green spaces, the Charleston Parks Conservancy announced a $125,000 campaign to renovate Colonial Lake. This two-year project aims to transform the lake into a stunning and sustainable urban oasis, addressing critical environmental challenges and enhancing community livability.

“We have incredible people living in this city, and they care about it. It shows, not just in our built environment but also in our natural environment and our parks,” said Mayor William Cogswell.

Colonial Lake and the surrounding neighborhoods face ongoing challenges from severe weather and flooding, which bring damaging saltwater into the park and nearby properties. Over the past eight years, Colonial Lake has suffered significant changes, including the loss of mature shade trees along Broad Street, exposing shade plantings to harsh sunlight. Frequent saltwater inundation has stressed the lake’s horticulture, resulting in the decline of specimen plants and making way for the invasion of species that threaten biodiversity and pollinator-friendly habitats.

“The Charleston Parks Conservancy understands that Colonial Lake is a significant part of our community fabric and enhances livability for all Charlestonians,” said Darlene Header, CEO and Executive Director of Charleston Parks Conservancy. “With the support of our community, we are committed to implementing innovative strategies to mitigate the impacts of our changing climate through horticulture and evolving our investment in and maintenance of Colonial Lake. Together, we can create a new, resilient landscape that will be beautiful, sustainable, and beneficial to our local ecosystem.”

The Conservancy has partnered with local firms Design Works and Ables Landscapes to develop an updated master plan for Colonial Lake. This plan will incorporate plants that mitigate stormwater, restore biodiversity and wildlife habitat, and create a safe and beautiful space for the community.

The Charleston Parks Conservancy prioritizes sustainability by using organic gardening methods and zero-emission tools, which are more labor-intensive and costly but ensure community and environmental health. The Conservancy team, more than 1,000 volunteers, and expert horticulturists hand-weed and water the parks, avoiding harmful herbicides and preserving delicate ecosystems. By selecting plants suited to Charleston’s climate, the need for harsh interventions is reduced, if not eliminated. 

To make this vision a reality, the Conservancy calls on the community to join this restoration effort. “Every donation, big or small, will help us achieve our goal and ensure that Colonial Lake remains a treasured community asset for generations to come,” said Emily Topham, Director of Development at Charleston Parks Conservancy.

About the Charleston Parks Conservancy
The Charleston Parks Conservancy is a nonprofit organization dedicated to inspiring the people of Charleston to connect with their parks and create stunning public places and a strong community. For more than 15 years, the Conservancy has had a hand in renovating and beautifying 24 parks in partnership with the City of Charleston. Notable projects include the renovation of Colonial Lake, the Rose Pavilion at Hampton Park, Moultrie Playground, St. Julian Devine Community Center and Park, Magnolia Park and Community Garden, Medway Park, and Community Garden, and Corrine Jones Community Garden.

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