Greenville City Council has given initial approval to a $38.2 million construction budget for Unity Park, where 60 acres of flood-prone lowlands are poised to become the city’s newest signature space.
The cost is $6 million less than originally budgeted, though the park’s total price tag — $61 million — remains more or less the same, said Beth Brotherton, the city’s director of communications and neighborhood relations.
Budget highlights include:
- Restoration of the Reedy River increased by $1.8 million to $4.1 million to restore the entire high-mile segment that runs through the park. Earlier restoration plans stopped at The Commons, the group of warehouses home to Community Tap, Methodical Coffee and others.
- Two additional pedestrian bridges were added to create more public access points at a cost of $650,000.
- A third bridge, the Auro Bridge, was redesigned with a cost of $1.2 million. The pedestrian walkway remains one of the park’s centerpieces, linking the two sides of Unity Park split by the river. It was previously estimated to cost $2.5 million.
- A visitor center and gathering space, originally budgeted for $5.8 million, was reduced to $2 million.
- What the city saved in construction costs will go toward a new parks and recreation maintenance building near Unity Park. The $4 million facility will consolidate the various park crews into one location and serve as the future home of the parks and recreation department.
Unity Park will also include Michelin Green, a nine-acre green space that serves as Unity Park’s front door; three playgrounds, including the 3,600-square-feet Greenville Water Splash Ground; the preservation and renovation of Mayberry Field; an observation tower; and extension of the Swamp Rabbit Trail.
The bulk of the park will be funded with hospitality-tax money, according to city documents. The city has already spent $16 million on property acquisition and planning and design costs as well as site demolition and utility undergrounding.