On February 28, 2011, Charleston County Park & Recreation Commission purchased McLeod Plantation on James Island. The property was purchased from the Trustees of Historic Charleston Foundation for $3.3 million.
To ensure the protection of the historic site, CCPRC has hired consultants having experience in historic preservation to develop a master plan for the property and stabilize the structures prior to opening the plantation to the public. CCPRC has also formed a 21-member steering committee, which includes members from the Historic Charleston Foundation, The Friends of McLeod and the National Park Service, as well historical, agricultural and preservation organizations; local, state and federal governments. The initial meeting of this group, held February 9, 2011, resulted in the following guiding principles, which were included in the purchase agreement:
• Operate this iconic site as a public historic park with meaningful public access
• Provide relevant protections of any significant resources at McLeod Plantation
• Maintain a balance between public access and resource preservation
• Protect the site in perpetuity, while allowing for sensitive additions to facilitate public use and enjoyment
• Additions to the site must be executed in a manner that are sensitive to the overall significance of the site
• Provide education and interpretation of the unique tangible and intangible resources at McLeod Plantation
• Promote a broad and diverse understanding of McLeod Plantation’s regional, state and national significance
• Provide opportunities for the public to gain a greater understanding of regional, state and national history through creative partnerships
• Conduct and document a public engagement process that seeks input from the citizenry and other stakeholders
• Follow the Secretary of the Interior's Standards and Guidelines for Archeology and Historic Preservation in all efforts undertaken at McLeod Plantation
• Establish a thorough process for record keeping so that all actions at McLeod Plantation are well documented and can be referenced as an important tool in future decision-making
• Develop an environmentally, economically, and culturally sustainable approach to provide a functional site and facilities that can be maintained within the county parks system.
"It's a site that needed to be protected and in the public realm, and today it is," said Tom. O'Rourke, Executive Director of CCPRC, adding, "It isn't the finish line, it's the starting line. We've got a lot of work to do."
The master planning process will be complete in November, 2011. Additional archeological research and studies are currently underway. Two additional Steering Committee meetings will take place, and public input will be sought as the plans develop. During this time, CCPRC will begin stabilization of the property using construction techniques and materials that are appropriate to the site’s historic environment.