[CHARLESTON] – The Charleston County Park and Recreation Commission (CCPRC) recently voted to enter into an agreement to lease the agency’s former Baker Hospital site to United States Performance Center, who will develop the site as a state-of-the-art sports facility, athletic campus and public amenities center.
Per the proposed agreement, the master plan of the site must meet the approval of the Charleston County Park and Recreation Commission and provide public access. To that end, the tenant’s master plan will include multi-purpose fields for both public and rental use, walking trails, and viewing locations of the Ashley River. The site, which will cater to a variety of athletes and be open and available to the general public, is expected to ultimately generate tourism revenue in the area.
While the master plan has not yet been completed, planned features at the site include:
- Multi-purpose trails
- Fitness trails
- Green space
- Picnic tables and benches
- Athletic fields
- Outdoor and indoor volleyball courts
- Outdoor/indoor track
Indoor facility to accommodate tournaments for local sports clubs, recreation departments, schools, and colleges for sports like volleyball, basketball, gymnastics, cheerleading, and karate
Locally known as the Baker Hospital, the site is located just south of Cosgrove Avenue, and west of I-26 on the Ashley River – a unique location in the center of the Peninsula south of I-526. A public workshop for gathering public input on CCPRC’s plan for the site was conducted in June of 2015, and surveys were sent out and posted on CCPRC’s website, with over 500 people responding. Walking trails, marsh access and river viewing points were high priority amenities from the surveys, and have been planned for incorporation into the master plan.
“This partnership will offer the community a sports and recreational complex at the former Baker Hospital site,” said CCPRC Executive Director David Bennett. “While the public will enjoy free access to passive recreational amenities at the site, no public funds will be needed to develop, operate or maintain the facility.
“CCPRC could not afford to develop the property in this way, and rather than leave the property undeveloped for years to come, we believe this partnership will address the need to have a state-of-the-art recreational facility in the Lowcountry.”
The Baker site was donated to CCPRC in 2015 through funding support from Charleston residents Michael and Jenny Messner of The Speedwell Foundation, and their business partner Paul Shiverick and his wife Betsy. Tax funds were not used in attaining the site.