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Park plans moving forward

By Jackie R. Broach
Coastal Observer

Construction of park facilities around the county moved a step closer to starting this week as Georgetown County Council gave approval to the final conceptual plans.

The plans show facilities at 12 sites throughout the county. They will be presented to the public next month. There are three sites on Waccamaw Neck: Retreat Park near Willbrook, former riding stables in Litchfield and property on Waverly Road next to Waccamaw Elementary School.

“Now we’re ready to start getting into the nuts and bolts of it,” said Steve Goggans, principal of SGA Architecture in Pawleys Island, one of four firms that worked cooperatively to produce the plans.

The “nuts and bolts” will include design development and construction documents, and permits.

“I think everyone is chomping at the bit to get this moving,” Goggans said. “We’re going to move the ball forward as quickly as possible.”

That’s a plan County Council members can definitely get behind.

“I think folks understandably are impatient,” Council Member Jerry Oakley said. “We are too. I can’t wait to hear the sound of diesels moving dirt.”

This week’s approval will show residents who may be skeptical of ever seeing the facilities that “we’re really serious,” Council Member Glen O’Connell said. “It may not always come as quickly as they would like, but it’s definitely moving forward.”

A timeline for construction wasn’t discussed, but Goggans said some of the permits could take five or six months. “Timewise, that effort will range considerably,” he said. “Some [sites] will be easier to permit than others.”

Each of the four firms is assigned to a regions of the county and will handle the related permits and documents, Goggans said. SGA is responsible for facilities on Waccamaw Neck.

The county is more than a year behind on projects, largely due to hold-ups in hiring a design firm. The process halted about this time last year and a contract wasn’t signed until March.

A tournament tennis complex at the Litchfield site was supposed to open this summer.

The majority of facilities for Waccamaw Neck will go on the 116-acre tract in Litchfield comprised of four adjoining properties the county acquired last year. The tract stretches between Ford Road and the dirt portion of Petigru Road.

Under the plans approved this week, 11 courts will be built off Ford Road. The former stable will be converted into a clubhouse.

Another 10 courts will be added in the second phase of the capital plan, which will begin after 2018.

On the other side of the park, near Petigru, four multi-purpose fields with concessions and restrooms are planned, with a fifth to be installed in the next phase. A dog park is also shown in the first phase.

At Retreat Park, a picnic area, three baseball fields and a concession stand with restroom facilities are proposed in the first phase. Another three baseball/softball fields and a concession stand will go at Waccamaw Elementary.

Another baseball field and a soccer field at Retreat Park are included in the second phase.

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