HILTON HEAD UNVEILS PROPOSALS FOR MID-ISLAND PARK
BY HILTON HEAD MONTHLY
Hilton Head City Council is nearing completion of one of the island’s biggest initiatives.
Recently, City Council received an outline of proposed plans for the city-owned Mid-Island Tract and the entire Mid-Island Initiative Area. Mayor John McCann believes the plans will “transform” the island.
“This is the most exciting project we’ve ever had and certainly the biggest. Our staff and consulting team have spent hundreds of hours with residents, business owners and other stakeholders gathering feedback. The result is a detailed and visionary plan that will transform the center of our island,” said McCann.
The 103-acre Mid-Island Community Park, bordered by William Hilton Parkway, Dillion Road and Union Cemetery Road, is located in the center of the island. The city has hired MKSK, a national consulting firm, to prepare plans for its Mid-Island initiative area and community park.
The preliminary plan for the community park includes the following, according to the city:
- An open-air market and associated vegetable garden that reflect island heritage.
- Cultivated gardens, natural gardens and multi-use paths.
- An interactive water feature, open play areas and a community playground.
- Eco-centre, nature reserve, observation decks, boardwalk and canopy walk.
- Space for gatherings including weddings and small musical events, a multi-purpose community facility and other features in the heart of the park.
- Relocation of historic St. James Baptist Church to land off Union Cemetery Road.
- An 18-hole disc golf course, picnic pavilions and restrooms are planned for the Ashmore Tract immediately adjacent to this area, across William Hilton Parkway.
- Other potential highlights include pétanque courts and an area for playing chess.
The draft Mid-Island Initiative Area Redevelopment Strategy and Character Vision included the following themes:
- Preserve and protect existing open spaces, creating an interconnected and green neighborhood.
- Create a walkable neighborhood that seamlessly integrates existing development and neighborhoods.
- Improve connectivity and safety by making crossing William Hilton Parkway easier.
- Address the condition of existing commercial areas in the Mid Island area considering a mix of uses and potential repositioning opportunities that balance the need for housing, commercial, office and airport uses.
- Create a distinct neighborhood identity that provides an overall aesthetic appearance and matches the character of surrounding neighborhoods.
- Transform the mid-island area into a hub of activity for the entire town of Hilton Head, using the new community park as a catalyst.
- Connect the new community park to other green spaces, parks and trails.
- Enhance the natural features of the community park site and provide opportunities for nature viewing.
- Embrace the Gullah history and culture of the site and the island by providing much needed community gathering space adjacent to the future site of St. James Baptist Church.
- Encourage entrepreneurial and cultural understanding in the park by providing space for an outdoor market, heritage gardens and a café.
- Ensure that the new park serves the entire community, residents and visitors.
- Consider the implementation phase and broader ongoing maintenance and operating costs in the design of the park, public space and civic infrastructure.
City Council will consider approving the Mid-Island Initiative Area District Plan and 103-acre Community Park Master Plan at a meeting later this summer. To see the proposed plans shared at the City Council workshop, visit hiltonheadislandsc.gov.