Two new public spaces in Bluffton — a park and a pavilion for community events — will offer residents and visitors more amenities in Old Town.
The newly constructed HEART — History, Education for Residents, Art and Tourism — Pavilion at Heyward House was the site of the Bluffton Historical Preservation Society’s first Historic Bluffton Town Party in March. The event was themed around Black History Month and Gullah culture and featured the praise ministry of Campbell Chapel AME Church; a vocal performance by Jim Gadson, a descendant of one of nine freedman who purchased Campbell Chapel in 1874; a book-signing and historical re-enactment by author Kim Poovey; and free tours of Heyward House. Children roasted marshmallows and played cornhole while Bluffton BBQ served up plates of barbecue.
The historical society funded the $45,000 courtyard at the south end of the 178-year-old Heyward House, while its amenities were paid for by accommodations tax funds. The property can be rented for weddings, cookouts, oyster roasts, lectures or multi-day events such as song and story festivals.
Construction also has begun on Old Town’s Boundary Street Park, which will include approximately 60 new parking spaces, public restrooms and open space for community events. The 1.47-acre park is at 68 Boundary St., adjacent to DuBois Park and Heyward House.
“This new park will add more accessibility and options for Bluffton’s historic district,” said Bluffton Town Council member Dan Wood. “This park creates the opportunity for more events to happen and more memories to be made in our special town.”
In addition to parking, about half of the property will be used for events such as a community movie night and open space.
“The greenspace component to this project was very important,” said councilman Harry Lutz.
The town of Bluffton awarded the $365,589.50 contract to Bluffton-based Newtech, Inc. The park is expected to be completed by October.
Mayor Lisa Sulka said adding amenities to the historic district benefits the town’s overall economy.
“Providing unique features to a town, such as public amenities around historic sites, is a recipe for economic development,” she said.