Water, water everywhere! And now a place to dock a boat on Daniel Island. And a place to take sailing lessons, to rent kayaks and paddleboards, to hold gatherings on the water, and engage in a variety of watersports and water activities.
Jane Baker, Daniel Island Vice President of Community Services for the Daniel Island Town Association (DITA), is pumped up about the improvements. “This is a game changer,” she said as she explained the improvements and the partnerships that are making it happen.
The area encompassing the current Children’s Park and the path area from the footbridge just north of the existing dock and extending south to the Barfield Park footbridge will be renamed Waterfront Park and Daniel Island Yacht Club. This linear park will include the addition of a second dock, improvement to the existing dock, and improvements to the green spaces.
The improvements are being made by DITA in partnership with East West Partners and Low Country Marina Holdings.
The park and dock improvements are currently under construction near The Waterfront, a new mixed-use development by East West Partners. The Waterfront will bring Daniel Island’s only waterfront restaurant and rooftop bar as well as other retail options including a gourmet grab-and-go market. Phase 1 of The Waterfront, which is currently under construction, will offer a mix of 58 townhomes and condominiums overlooking the new Waterfront Park and Daniel Island Yacht Club.
Construction of the park and docks should be complete by spring 2021.
The Green Spaces
Baker said that the park’s design is inspired in part by the popular linear park in Portland, Oregon.
Improvements to the existing attractions on the Waterfront Park site will include enhanced landscaping, lighting, seating areas, swings with a view, a hammock garden, a water feature, event space and play equipment.
The existing trails — popular with walkers, runners and cyclists — will also be improved to complement the existing natural beauty and utility of Daniel Island’s 25-mile trail system.
“What makes the trail system so unique is that you go from an urban trailhead, through a shell sand area, onto a boardwalk, and through a maritime forest,” said Baker. “We never want to lose the variety of experiences on the trail.”
As a result, Baker explained, the park is “light in its footprint but impactful in its aesthetics and use.”
The area currently designated as Children’s Park will be reworked to include a DHEC regulated water fountain play area. The fountain is built at grade and designed to be turned off so the area can also be used as event space, Baker said, envisioning it at the perfect setting for a summer concert series.
Baker is particularly excited about the beautiful gathering places planned throughout the length of the park, including a community table for small groups to gather. She described the gathering areas as diverse.
The play structures are also spaced through the length of the park. And, the lighting solutions include up and down lighting from the oak trees.
Construction activities will cause the trails to be closed at times but Baker said closures are designed to be intermittent and short in duration.
The Daniel Island Yacht Club will feature two public docks providing day boat docking for the restaurants and retail businesses being developed in the area. This includes the existing dock, with improvements, and a second dock currently under construction.
Boat club memberships, kayak and stand-up paddleboard rentals, sailing opportunities, fishing and crabbing, water transportation via Daniel Island Ferry, special events and more are planned for what is billed as a dynamic new destination on the Wando River.
Baker said that the existing dock, Dock 1, will be used for water sports programming and for Daniel Island Ferry and will be special needs accessible. The new dock, Dock 2, will be used for day docking and by members of the boat club. Both docks will have covered areas that can be used for special events.
“The addition of a covered pier-head on the dock will be a great amenity for our riders,” said Colby Hollifield, owner of Daniel Island Ferry. “With our new enclosed boat we can run when it’s raining, so it will be nice for our passengers to have a covered place to gather prior to boarding. There will also be expanded bicycle parking for our passengers who want to stay ‘car free’ when they take the ferry.”
Both docks will be open to the public. Baker said that all Daniel Island businesses, but particularly those near the water, will benefit from day docking.
The Daniel Island Yacht Club and docks will be managed by Low Country Marina Holdings, which also manages the Daniel Island Marina. Baker said her team’s research confirmed that the company is the best marina operator choice for the boat club.
Low Country Marina Holdings will have an office and public restrooms on Dock 1 and there will also be public restrooms in the market being developed by East West Partners at The Waterfront.
‘An Unparalleled Experience’
DITA owns both docks and the linear green space that make up the Waterfront Park and Daniel Island Yacht Club. Baker explained that DITA will be responsible for maintaining all land areas of the new park while its partner on the project, Low Country Marina Holdings, will be responsible for managing and maintaining the docks.
“Daniel Island’s abundant waterfront is its most defining characteristic and among the many attributes that make it a world-class planned community,” Baker noted. “This project will transform our waterfront public realm in a way that really completes the vision for Daniel Island and ensures that residents and visitors have access to the Wando River and the island’s treasured natural resources.”
Miller Harper, Managing Partner at East West Partners, said, “Simply put, our goal at East West Partners is to create terrific places. Since day one on Daniel Island, it has been a priority to create an unparalleled experience beyond just the community we are building. Over the last three years, we’ve been working with the Daniel Island Town Association and Low Country Marina Holdings, LLC, to create an active, engaging waterfront experience and we look forward to seeing this area on Daniel Island come to life.”
The construction of the Daniel Island Yacht Club and Waterfront Park is being funded by East West Partners, Low Country Marina Holdings, LLC, and the Daniel Island Community Fund. The project represents a joint investment totaling over $5.6 million.
“This project represents the largest grant the Daniel Island Community Fund has ever awarded, and it would not have been possible without the partnership formed with East West Partners and Low Country Marina Holdings,” said Baker. “Our collective vision is for Daniel Island’s Waterfront Park and surrounding amenities to become the finest waterfront experience on the East Coast.”