Colonial Lake Renovation
In early June 2016, the Charleston Parks Conservancy celebrated the completion of a $5.9 million revitalization of one of Charleston’s iconic public spaces. The project was a public-private partnership between the Conservancy and the City of Charleston.
Crews broke ground on the Colonial Lake project in January 2015 after years of planning, fundraising and design. Some of the project’s most complex work involved creating an improved water control system so the water within the Colonial Lake basin could more efficiently flow in and out of the Ashley River. In addition, repairs to the 140-year-old tabby seawall required significant research to develop the oyster shell/sand mixture to closely match the original tabby mixture, with consultation from the Scottish Lime Centre Trust and others to ensure that the repairs will last for another 140 years.
The Conservancy and its Park Angel volunteers began their work in the gardens surrounding the lake. The Conservancy added an initial 20,000 plants to the park. The Conservancy introduced a new horticultural style to Colonial Lake while retaining the love for tradition here in the Lowcountry. The overall goal was to create a garden that varies with the seasons while reflecting aspects of Charleston’s history and the beauty of the Lowcountry.
Other highlights of the park include additional open space and more shade trees as well as new sidewalks and expanded space for walking and jogging. The new park has nearly three times more benches and a seat wall along Rutledge Avenue that dramatically expands the amount of space for visitors to sit and admire the lake and gardens.
Major support from The Beach Company — along with significant contributions from The Speedwell Foundation, Pathfinder Foundation, Alison and Thomas Schneider, and the Historic Charleston Foundation — helped the Conservancy contribute nearly $1.5 million in private funding to the overall $5.9 million project cost.