Dorchester park goes from trash to treasure, open house Saturday

      (Source: Dave MacQueen/WCIV)

      By Stacy

      SUMMERVILLE, S.C. (WCIV) -- Joel Menges is a newcomer to Summerville. He said the prospect of the Ashley River Park led him there.

      "That sold it for me. I like to takes walks, ride my bike and be out," Menges said.

      He moved in to a home adjacent to the park. But, he realized quickly, it had problems because the area had been vacant so long.

      "Neighborhood kids would go there. That was their party spot. I found 150 beer bottles behind my house," he said.

      Menges thought{}the new county park would help clear out some of that trash. Dorchester County Councilman Jay Byars agreed. He said dumping was a problem, as ABCNews4 saw on our visit in early January. Since then, the county put up cameras and started patrolling more. Byars said the dumping mostly{}stopped.

      Now, he can focus on the fun part.

      "The plan is to create an outdoor Mecca for residents," Byars said.

      The park space{}included a{}floating dock along the Ashley River. Once the park is finished, Byars said it would be used for observing, fishing and maybe tying up kayaks.

      But, county leaders don't want to guess. They want to hear what residents would like to see in the park. They're holding an open house Saturday. It will include walking tours and they'll look for feedback.

      "Do you want to see playgrounds? Do you want to see kayak rentals? Fitness stations? What is it that you as a constituent want to see at your park? We're going to take that and get it to our land planner," Byars said.

      Menges said he may be one of the people doing the tour. But, he already knew his move paid{}off.

      The open house goes from 9 a.m.{}to 1 p.m. Saturday. Parking will be off Bacons Bridge Road on Renken Road. County Council said it aimed to start construction by the fall. Officials said the park would take{}six to{}12 months to complete.