Charleston is known for its history and architecture, and if prominent businesswoman Darla Moore has her way, it will soon be known for its parks, as well. Moore announced today the formation of the Charleston Parks Conservancy (CPC), headed by prominent area horticulturalist Jim Martin, whose aim will be to upgrade City of Charleston parks and green spaces and rally community support and pride behind the effort.
The CPC will partner with the City of Charleston on various projects at the 120 parks in the city. Initial assignments include consulting on the renovations of Colonial Lake, Moultrie Playground and Wragg Square, as well as assistance with the development of the new Concord Park. Martin also plans to reach some of the smaller, neglected area parks, many of which have tremendous historic value, and encourage area businesses and residents to support their revitalization.
“While we have done remarkable things to preserve and enhance our buildings and the ‘Charleston’ way of life, it is now time to reinvigorate the areas our citizens use most and enjoy: our parks,” says Moore, South Carolina native and founder of the CPC. “In pulling together the talent and energy to create the Charleston Parks Conservancy, I hope it will serve as a catalyst for a renewed private/public partnership between the city and its many wonderful neighborhoods to preserve, sustain and enhance the beauty of Charleston’s parks and public spaces.”
“Charleston City parks are a vital resource to the well-being of all citizens and visitors, so it behooves us all to get more involved,” says Jim Martin, executive director of the CPC. “The Charleston Parks Conservancy hopes to be the organization that, together with the City of Charleston, helps funnel our city’s passion for great parks into action through volunteering in the parks, advocating for more resources or actually contributing these resources.”
The CPC has partnered with Brains on Fire, an identity and word-of-mouth marketing firm out of Greenville, who will use innovative tools, both online and offline, to start a grassroots movement within the Charleston community around the CPC. Plans include reaching out to local bloggers, using social media tools like Facebook and Twitter, creating downloadable walking tours for iPods and more.
As part of the effort, the CPC is also looking for a few good men — and women — to spearhead the movement and serve as ambassadors for the program. These five lead “Park Angels” will lead the charge to recruit more “angels” with varying skills to serve as active park volunteers. Angel tasks may range from rallying funds and area support to plenty of actual “digging in dirt.” The CPC is inviting energetic citizens who have a passion for the city and its parks to apply to become “angels” by visiting www.parkangels.org. The deadline to apply is July 11.
For more information on the Charleston Parks Conservancy, please visit www.charlestonparksconservancy.org.