Those looking to take a load off at the chess tables while catching a live concert at Saturdays on Pine or just relaxing having a family picnic, the stone floor making up the patio at Kelsey-Hutchinson Founders Park is being expanded to accommodate the substantial traffic the popular lounging area receives.
“FoFP is expanding the chess table/picnic area for these reasons; area gets considerable picnic use and foot traffic, area is heavily shaded making it difficult to maintain grass turf, and requires improved drainage,” said FoFP President Hank Ross. “After construction, park patrons will have a clean, dry, and expanded space for picnic.”
In the last two years, Ross said FoFP has redirected its efforts from major park construction to projects to enhance and maintain the park.
In addition to the patio expansion, which is expected to be completed by next week, FoFP recently asked the Recreation Committee at Thursday’s meeting for possible use of the town’s bucket truck to trim some Arborvitae and other trees throughout the park growing in tight locations making handsaws difficult to operate. Highlands Recreation Director Lester Norris said it’s not certain if the truck will be needed, but is always an option if deemed necessary.
“This is still in the planning stage, so when the time is right, and it is decided who is going to do the trimming, then the plans for the truck if needed will be decided,” said Norris. “It is possible that the truck will not be needed.”
He added that it always helps streamline the process to get the issue before a committee before it is presented to the Board of Commissioners.
“The Town Manager can approve this because it is town property,” said Norris. “If we know in advance, we try to get it before at least a committee of the commissioners and if they (Rec Committee) don’t have a problem, we move forward with it.”
The Rec Committee approved the use of the town’s bucket truck if necessary.
This is not the first time the town has collaborated with FoFP as the town has made several improvements in the past like those made last fall for the upcoming season including three new street lights, three new street trees, removable bollards that mount in the street to replace temporary police barricades, new Christmas tree, etc., said Ross.
“We work hand in hand in partnership with the Town of Highlands and its park maintenance efforts,” said Ross. “All efforts are discussed and approved by the town.”
Norris said the relationship between the town and FoFP is beneficial to the community and appreciates all that they do.
“We work closely with the Friends of Founders Park to keep the park up and make improvements as we can,” said Norris. “This park property was bought, and the park was developed by funds raised by the Friends of Founders Park Coalition and they continue to raise funds to put into the park.”
Ross said there are other aesthetic improvements in the works at Founders.
“This year we will be restoring the shrub and screening landscape near the corner of Pine Street and Pine Alley, install a new sign structure for the sign on the corner of Pine Street and Pine Alley; and provide annual and perennial color for the plaza and other border areas,” said Ross.
FoFP improvement projects are paid for by donors, and proceeds from tickets and sponsors from the Low Country Shrimp Boil fundraiser.