Georgetown City Council mulls cutting county’s ties to East Bay Park
To say Georgetown City Council is frustrated with the lack of improvements by the county at East Bay Park would be an understatement.
In fact, council members say they want to discontinue the property partnership they have with the county.
Even though East Bay Park is in the city limits, Georgetown County has leased the property for decades for recreational purposes.
The 20-year lease that was in place has lapsed and now the contract is being renewed on an annual basis.
At a workshop this week, city leaders said they do not want to renew the contract when it expires this year.
City Administrator Chris Carter told council he met with county leaders and the county has very few improvements planned for East Bay Park in the upcoming years.
As part of the county’s Capital Improvement Plan, new tennis courts are expected to be built at East Bay Park in 2017.
And the county wants to make the road around the park a one-way street.
Carter said he was told if the city agrees to reimburse the county, a dog park could also be added.
That, Carter said, is the extent of the improvements planned.
“I just wanted to kill the notion any big park improvements are planned,” Carter said.
“We need to stop dribbling the ball and waiting for the county to shoot. They don’t care anything about us even though we are county taxpayers also,” council member Brendon Barber said. “East Bay Park can be marketed.”
Council member Rudolph Bradley agreed, saying the city needs to take over the property and look at ways to redevelop it.
“Enough is enough. The county is being disrespectful to city residents,” Bradley said.
Council member Peggy Wayne said the area needs to remain a recreation area.
“We need the ballfields to stay. Parking is awful. A lot can be done to improve the looks so we can continue to draw people down there,” she said.
The city is about to pay for improvements around the boat landing at the park.
Council member Paige Sawyer said the city is “missing an opportunity” if something is not done with the property.
Mayor Jack Scoville instructed staff to get some plans together for the property to be discussed at an upcoming meeting.
“Let’s see if we can still get that money for the tennis courts,” he said.
Georgetown County officials did not respond to a request for comment on Thursday.
By Scott Harper
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