Thursday, April 19, 2018

Waterfront Park to be rededicated to former mayor Joe Riley on April 28

Renovations to the park's design are expected to begin January 2019

Posted by Adam Manno on Thu, Apr 19, 2018 at 11:17 AM

click to enlarge Pedestrians visit Waterfront Park around sunset on Friday, July 7 - SAM SPENCE
  • Sam Spence
  • Pedestrians visit Waterfront Park around sunset on Friday, July 7
The City of Charleston will kick off a few cosmetic updates to Waterfront Park with a ceremony to rededicate the iconic spot to 40-year former mayor Joseph P. Riley on April 28.

The ceremony will take place from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the park's Vendue Plaza and will feature a special performance by the Charleston Symphony Orchestra.

Mayor John Tecklenburg will speak in honor of former mayor Riley, who began the process of transforming the waterfront area to the popular tourist destination it is today after taking office in 1975.

The park's granite block will be replaced, and new limestone will be added to reflect the park's new name. The updates were designed by Sasaki and Associates, the same firm that originally designed the park before it opened to the public in 1990.The re-dedication updates will cost the city about $270,000, with $40,000 going to Sasaki for design services, according to a spokesperson for Lowe Enterprises.

Lowe Enterprises plans to build a 225-room hotel next to the park on property it purchased from the State Port Authority last year. Part of that construction will extend the riverwalk in the park by 400 feet and add a floating dock for daytime water taxis and boats. Construction on those improvements is set to begin on January 2019 and end by "early 2021."

“Waterfront Park is where we find the fullest realization of Mayor Riley’s vision, the truest expression of the ideas and ideals that guided him through forty years of public service,” Tecklenburg said in a statement. “Thanks to Joe Riley, Charleston is today a place where civic excellence is a civic virtue. It is a place where the public realm is a public treasure and a public tribute that our citizens pay to one another.”

In 2007, the park took home the Landmark Award from the American Society of Landscape Architects and the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

“It was the vision of Mayor Riley that created Waterfront Park and together with all Charlestonians we at Lowe pledge our best efforts in achieving the next phase of Mayor Riley’s dream, the continued expansion of the park providing additional public access to Charleston’s waterfront,” said Lowe's senior VP of Charleston development Dan Battista.

City Council first voted to re-name the park after Riley in November 2015.

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