Conservancy Unveils Plans for Hampton Park Renovation Project

The Charleston Parks Conservancy released on Wednesday, May 20, 2015, a plan to renovate portions of Hampton Park, enhancing the park’s facilities and overall usage by neighbors, Charleston area residents and visitors.

The Conservancy, in its ongoing mission to increase the quality, awareness, appreciation and usage of Charleston’s parks and green spaces, has led revitalization of parks all around the city. This plan for Hampton Park promises to add to the momentum.

The plan, prepared by Turnberry Consulting of Washington, D.C., and developed in close coordination with the City of Charleston, includes a proposal to introduce an outdoor café and multi-use community center to this iconic park. These improvements will attract more citizens to visit and enjoy one of the city’s most beautiful public spaces, while supporting the Conservancy’s efforts to connect people with their parks and improve parks in the city.

The proposed project makes use of several historic and currently underused structures, including the old police mounted patrol stable, old park superintendent’s cottage, and a vacant concession stand. The Conservancy will repurpose these spaces, including removal of a semi-industrial use from the park (a tour company’s stable operation) and increasing public recreational use.

“We hope that by introducing an outdoor cafe and special events multi-use community center to the much-loved Hampton Park, we can improve a key public area on the Charleston peninsula while enhancing public recreation and the overall user experience, said Harry Lesesne, executive director of the Conservancy. “We feel certain these improvements will allow more residents to use and enjoy one of the city’s most beautiful public spaces, all while supporting the Conservancy’s mission to improve the city’s parks.”

The facility could be rebranded as “Washington Hall” harkening back to the park’s 19th-century history when this area of Charleston was known as Washington Racecourse.

Project highlights include:
– The proposed plan reimagines the police stables and superintendent’s cottage as a multi-use community and interpretive center. The structure will serve as an organizing center for the park, available for neighborhood meetings, recreational events, family reunions, weddings, and general use as a showcase for Hampton Park’s history.
– The facility will contribute to the overall beautification of the park through structural and landscaping enhancements that will improve the park’s integration with the surrounding neighborhoods.
– The plan proposes to relocate the Parks Department’s operations facility from an adjacent parking lot so that the site can fully serve park guests at special events. This will add to the available parking around the park, alleviating overflow parking from encroaching on neighboring streets.
– Hampton Park Cafe – The proposed cafe component will occupy an underused snack stand designed by local architect Sandy Logan in 1982, located near the center of the park. The cafe will be operated by a local restaurateur (to be determined) and will feature family friendly casual outdoor dining, including beer and wine, and an area for public art and acoustic music. The cafe will serve both as a park and neighborhood amenity and as a way to enliven the Hampton Park experience.

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