HILTON HEAD UNVEILS PROPOSALS FOR MID-ISLAND PARK
BY HILTON HEAD MONTHLY
Hilton Head Town Council is getting closer to finalizing one of the island’s biggest initiatives.
Recently the town council received an overview of plans proposed for the town-owned Mid-Island Tract and overall 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 definitely the biggest. Our staff and team of consultants spent hundreds of hours with residents, business owners and other stakeholders to gather input. The result is a detailed, visionary plan that will transform the center of our Island,” McCann said.
The 103-acre mid-island community park, bordered by William Hilton Parkway, Dillion Road, and Union Cemetery Road, is situated in the center of the island. The town hired MKSK, a national consultant firm, to prepare plans for its Mid-Island initiative area and community park.
The preliminary community park plan includes the following, according to the town:
- An open-air market and associated vegetable garden that reflects Island heritage.
- Cultivated gardens, natural gardens, and multi-use trails.
- An interactive water feature, open space play areas and a community playground.
- Eco-center, nature preserve, observation decks, boardwalk, and canopy walk.
- Space for gatherings including weddings and small music events, a multi-use community facility and other features at the heart of the park.
- Relocation of the historic St. James Baptist Church to the tract off Union Cemetery Road.
- An 18-hole disc golf course, picnic pavilions and restroom facilities are planned for the Ashmore Tract immediately adjacent to this area, across William Hilton Parkway.
- Other potential highlights include bocce courts and an area to play chess.
The Mid-Island Initiative Area interim redevelopment strategy and character vision included the following themes:
- Preserve and protect existing open spaces, creating an interconnected and green district.
- Create a walkable district that seamlessly integrates existing development and neighborhoods.
- Improve connectivity and safety, making it easier to cross William Hilton Parkway.
- Address the condition of existing commercial shopping areas in the Mid-Island Area by considering a mix of uses and potential repositioning opportunities that balance the need for housing, commercial, office and airport supporting uses.
- Create a distinct district identity that provides an overall aesthetic appearance and fits the character of the 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 nature observation opportunities.
- Embrace the Gullah history and culture of the site and the island by providing needed community gathering space adjacent to the future St. James Baptist Church site.
- Encourage entrepreneurial and cultural understanding in the park by providing space for an open-air market, heritage gardens, and cafe.
- Ensure that the new park serves the entire community, residents and visitors.
- Consider implementation phasing and broader ongoing maintenance and operations costs in the design of the park, public space and civic infrastructure.
Town Council will consider approval of the Mid-Island Initiative Area District Plan and the master plan for the 103-acre community park at a meeting later this summer. To view the proposed plans shared at the Town Council workshop, visit hiltonheadislandsc.gov.