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A West Ashely Gem

Old Towne Creek County Park begins to takes shape


July 26, 2017
From Staff Reports

The vision of one of Charleston’s great preservationists — the late Emily Ravenel Farrow (Miss Em) — is a reality. To honor Miss Em’s wishes to preserve her lands in perpetuity for the benefit and enjoyment of the citizens of Charleston, Mrs. Farrow bequeathed her beloved Ashem Farm, located along Old Towne Road in West Ashley next to Charles Towne Landing, to the Lowcountry Land Trust. The Land Trust has transferred it to the Charleston County Park and Recreation Commission with a commitment to maintain the site as a public park for all to enjoy.

Last week, the future of the 67-acre Old Towne Creek County Park property became a little clearer when the Charleston County Park and Recreation Commission (CCPRC) held a public information and input meeting for the master planning of the Old Towne Creek County Park property on Thursday, July 20 in the cafeteria at Orange Grove Charter School.

The meeting was followed by a presentation about the property and CCPRC’s master planning process and there were posters illustrating information relevant to the master planning process on display throughout the meeting. The design team and CCPRC staff were available to answer specific questions from the public. If you were unable to attend, don’t worry you can still offer your thoughts. There is a questionnaire inviting public comments on the park design available online through Aug. 4 at www.CharlestonCountyParks.com/OldTowneCreek.

Old Towne Creek County Park site located at 1400 Old Towne Road in West Ashley, immediately south of Charles Towne Landing State Historic Site. The property was acquired by CCPRC in 2011 for use as a county park. Formerly known as “Ashem Farm,” the property was cleverly named by and for its previous owners Ashby Farrow and Emily Ravenel Farrow (who was affectionately known as “Miss Em”). The park property may be remembered by many as the former home of the St. Andrews Parish Riding Academy.

Prior to her passing in 2011, Miss Em chose to conserve the majority of the property in perpetuity with a conservation easement held and monitored by Historic Charleston Foundation. The conservation easement limits the development of new buildings, roads and lighting; maintains natural buffers along Old Towne Creek and Old Towne Road; and maintains the general cultural and natural integrity of the property. There are opportunities for park improvements; however, they are limited and guided by the conservation easement.

The master planning process for this park is guided by a steering committee, which includes representatives from CCPRC, Historic Charleston Foundation, Charles Towne Landing State Historic Site, Lowcountry Land Trust and the City of Charleston Department of Parks.

Initial work on the site has involved site surveys and ecological and cultural studies. Upcoming work by CCPRC will include the compiling of site reports and developing, finalizing and adopting a master plan by the fall of 2017.

Use of Old Towne Creek County Park is currently limited to special events and private rentals, but the park will have regular hours following the development of park facility improvements recommended in the final adopted master plan. Park development is expected to commence in 2018.

You can follow project updates on the project website at CharlestonCountyParks.com/OldTowneCreek.


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