Construction to begin on McLeod Plantation

By Ashley Barker
abarker@scbiznews.com
Published April 22, 2014

Officials with the Charleston County Park and Recreation Commission broke ground on a renovation project at McLeod Plantation this morning in James Island.

The 37-acre plantation on Country Club Drive will be closed to the public during construction, which is expected to be complete in December.

The main house at McLeod Plantation will undergo interior renovations during a construction project that is scheduled to be complete in December. (Photo by Ashley Barker)

The main house at McLeod Plantation will undergo interior renovations during a construction project that is scheduled to be complete in December. (Photo by Ashley Barker)

A new parking area will be built along with a welcome center, open air pavilion and viewing deck near the pavilion and Wappoo Creek. The interior of the main house and two houses that were built for the enslaved at McLeod will be repaired to enable public access, and exterior work will be performed on the gin house and garage. Visitors can also expect to see new paths and exterior interpretive signs.

Tom O’Rourke, executive director of the Charleston County Park and Recreation Commission, said it’s impossible to keep people away from the plantation.

“This (groundbreaking) is not even a start. It’s just a brief pause in what we hope to complete very soon,” O’Rourke said. “We are already planning the grand opening that will be a big event, a celebration for the entire community and everybody involved.”

Tom O’Rourke, executive director of the Charleston County Park and Recreation Commission, talks about the work at McLeod Plantation. (Photo/Ashley Barker.
O’Rourke
The commission acquired McLeod Plantation from the Historic Charleston Foundation in February 2011. A 21-member steering committee was formed that includes members of the Historic Charleston Foundation, the Friends of McLeod, the National Park Service as well as representatives from other historical, agricultural and preservation organizations. The steering committee worked with consultants and gathered public input to create a master plan for the property.

Lisa King, a Charleston County Park and Recreation commissioner, said she can’t wait for spring 2015, when the plantation is expected to reopen to the community.

“We want the descendants of those who were born here, we want them to be able to come back to visit where their ancestors lived, to visit the gravesites where their ancestors were buried,” King said. “We want school-aged children, college-aged kids to come as well.”

The entire project is expected to cost approximately $3.2 million. The Charleston County Park and Recreation Commission will pay for about $2.7 million, and the remaining $500,000 will be funded by various grants.

Reach Ashley Barker at 843-849-3144 or @AshleyNBarker.

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