Park officials take fight for Folly to state leaders

By Valencia

NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV){}-- For the first time, Tom O'Rourke, executive director for Charleston County Parks and Recreation went before the Joint Delegation Committee.

He was there to ask for their support for Folly Beach County Park.

"We don't need your money; we don't need anything. We're going to handle all this ourselves. [This] is to let you know that the people that you represent, think this is important," O'Rourke said.

Leaders in charge of Folly Beach County Park{}are facing a time crunch and possible legal action from environmental groups including the Coastal Conservation League.

"The problem for us right now is the timeline," O'Rourke said. "We have a 60-day window to get this work done. The permits are going to be issued and when they do we have between March{}1 and May{}1 to get all the work done."

O'Rourke said any possible objection could force Folly Beach County Park to close for good.

"He wants to make sure permits for work activity are not needlessly bogged down," said Sen. Larry Grooms, a member of the committee. "If there is an actual problem that needs to be addressed, certainly it needs to be addressed. But, to have a delay for no reason, I think that's what he was warning us about."

Last week, Dana Beach with the Coastal Conservation League said the organization would consider legal action in order to stop park officials from building a groin to keep the beach from eroding.

A groin is a structure built from shore that will interrupt water flow and prevent sediment from moving.

"We've hired a group to go out and look at six different things to do, from do nothing, to relocate the park," O'Rourke said. "The strong solution is to stabilize the beach with a terminal groin combined with re-nourishment."

O'Rourke said if that work is not done is a timely fashion, Charleston County could lose the park.

"If we miss that window, we have to wait until November and by then with the rate that the beach is going away, we don't think there's going to be anything there to save," he said.

close video ad
Unmutetoggle ad audio on off