CONWAY A picnic shelter, two fountains in a pond, fishing piers, a gazebo, an amphitheater and a small business strip are just some of the ideas being thrown around for the area near the U.S. 17 and S.C. 22 boat ramp Horry County opened this summer.
Boaters used the $1.6 million boat launch beginning in July and the Horry County Parks and Open Space Board heard ideas at its meeting Tuesday from the county’s planning department, which also included a boardwalk, a public art space and handicapped access for boaters.
“It’s still really a concept plan at this stage,” said Leigh Wood, senior planner with Horry County. “We’re very excited about this.”
Wood said other ideas include kayaking and canoe access, playground and exercise equipment and a potential dog park.
“It’s a good way to utilize space that typically would not get used because it is in that [S.C. Department of Transportation] area and right of way,” she said.
Many of the plans stretch beyond the 28-foot-wide, two-lane boat access and under the S.C. 22 overpass. The boat launch and park idea came from Councilman Brent Schulz, who saw a similar project years ago in Kentucky. Schulz kick started the second phase of the project, which is estimated to cost between $1 million and $1.5 million, by giving $40,000 of his county recreation funds to the project.
Lou Conklin, senior planner with Horry County, reminded the park board that plans are preliminary.
“We’ve just done some quick renditions,” Conklin said. “They’re just out there for purposes to start dialogue. There’s nothing set in stone on it.”
Currently there is no funding for the park phase of the project and park officials would have to rely on grants and other funding from the county to get any of the work done.
Board member Tony Hernandez commended the department and said it may be something that can start a trend in Horry County.
“I think this is a really wonderful concept,” Hernandez said. “I do think this is an exciting vehicle possibly for the county council to rally around. I can see it being a model for future park developments. I think it’s a good idea.”
Contact JASON M. RODRIGUEZ at 626-0301 or follow him at Twitter.com/TSN_jrodriguez.