Construction on Unity Park, the city of Greenville’s newest signature park planned west of downtown, could begin in the fourth quarter of 2019.
That’s according to an update presented by Greenville’s interim assistant to the city manager Matt Efird on Monday at the Greenville City Council’s Committee on Planning and Neighborhoods.
Work to demolish the old public works complex could start in the first quarter of next year. The demolition has to be completed before construction on the park can begin.
The estimated cost of the first phase of the park is nearly $41.2 million.
Several funding sources would pay for the first phase of the park, which will include a pedestrian bridge over the Reedy River, a destination playground and water feature, Welborn Square, a visitor’s center and gathering hall, a great lawn, and improvements to Hudson Street and the Swamp Rabbit Trail.
The majority of the initial funding — more than $27 million — would come from bonding the city’s hospitality tax revenue. Additional money will come from the city’s stormwater fund, a fund that pays for undergrounding utility lines and the sale of some city-owned land on Welborn Street.
Construction of park features will consume most of the money — $30.5 million.
The city will use $2.3 million from its commercial undergrounding fund to bury utility lines on Welborn Street and part of Hudson.
Private fundraising efforts have raised an additional $1.875 million so far with more requests still outstanding.
The city has already spent or committed more than $9 million for the park, the majority of it for property acquisition. The rest was for planning and design.
Efird said the city will have to spend $2.8 million on the park in the next six months: $2.3 million for final design, $83,250 for property acquisition, $315,000 for project management, and $90,000 for construction of a statue of Lila Mae Brock, a Southernside community activist who lobbied for a community center and the Brockwood Apartments, a housing complex for senior citizens. Brock, the mother of Greenville City Councilwoman Lillian Brock Flemming, died in 1996.
Efird said there could be additional expenses for the first phase that weren’t included in the budget, including the construction cost of a plaza that will house the Brock statue, environmental studies and possible remediation, and additional property acquisition.
He said that the city is looking for additional grant funding and that the Hughes Agency was continuing private fundraising efforts. He said additional revenue could come from future development on property the city owns on Mayberry Street.
What’s included in Unity Park’s first phase?
- Pedestrian bridge
- Destination playground
- Water feature
- Swamp Rabbit Trail improvements
- Vehicular entrance from Meadow and Trescott streets
- Closing off Welborn Street and creating Welborn Square
- Visitor’s center
- Gathering hall
- Great lawn and shelters
- Hudson Street streetscaping
- Mayberry Field improvements
- Meadowbrook Green
Future phases (dependent on fundraising)
- Observation tower
- Wetland restoration
- Nature experience
(Source: City of Greenville)