South Carolina Ports Authority's (SCPA) Jim Merrill, along with Sen. Larry Grooms, announced last week the completion of a lease agreement that will transfer responsibility for a 50-acre land parcel on Daniel Island to the South Carolina Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism (SCPRT).
The lease, which is for 99 years, is in keeping with a state budget mandate requiring the SCPA to transfer 50 acres of its property on Daniel Island to the agency in charge of the state’s parks and recreation facilities.
“This land transfer is a significant milestone in safeguarding the future of the port and the Lowcountry,” Merrill said. “For over 15 years we have struggled to find a mutually beneficial purpose for the surplus port property on Daniel Island. Now, due to the work of visionaries like the SCPA Board, Jim Newsome, Matt Sloan and a host of others, we can begin to see those plans take shape.”
“By transferring 50 acres of land and also offering other port property on Thomas Island for sale to its previous owners, we’re helping protect local quality of life while returning some property to the private sector,” Grooms said. “It’s a great example of what can be accomplished when we work together to determine sound public policy.”
Merrill said his goal has always been "to assure the residents of the island that property previously proposed for a container terminal would no longer be on the table."
“What began as a bitter fight and disagreement can now become a tremendous victory for all," Merrill said.
Along with the recreational space SCPRT will be managing, about 900 of the 1,300 acres of the Daniel Island property owned by SCPA will be used for dredge disposal.
“While it is critical for the port to maintain necessary dredge disposal capacity in preparation for our harbor deepening project, we are pleased that our surplus property can be utilized by local residents for recreational use,” SCPA president and CEO Jim Newsome said. “We appreciate the involvement of Rep. Merrill and Sen. Grooms and believe that today’s announcement is a very positive outcome both for the Port and for Daniel Island.”