Charleston Parks Conservancy Invites Public Input on New Eastside Park Renovation

In an effort to improve a well-used park on the upper peninsula, the Charleston Parks Conservancy, in partnership with the City of Charleston and the Eastside community, is planning a renovation and playground upgrade for St. Julian Devine Center Park.

The public is invited to a project workshop on Wednesday, Sept. 23, where they can view proposed plans and share their own ideas for playground and park enhancements. The workshop begins at 9 a.m. with a kickoff presentation, with workshops throughout the day, and an evening session for public input and feedback.

Located at 1 Cooper St., the St. Julian Devine Community Center is located in an historic industrial building, renovated and repurposed in the 1970s as a civic building. Today, the center and surrounding park serve as an educational and recreational space managed by the city’s Recreation Department. It is one of a small number of public facilities that serves the diverse communities of Charleston’s upper peninsula.

Currently, the community center offers classes like ceramics, sweetgrass basket weaving and cooking plus after-school programs. Seasonal events and programs also provide a safe place for at-risk youth to have fun and socialize.

Even though this is an important gathering space for the neighborhoods, the park and playground are small and awkwardly configured. The area offers an opportunity for a dramatically redesigned park to better accommodate existing users and to attract more residents and users to this valuable public space.

After previous meetings with community members, the Conservancy has developed a list of potential changes to the park:

  • Remove the berm remaining from the site’s earlier uses and significantly expand the park’s turf area for active play and passive relaxation.   

  • Create a welcoming, gated entrance into the Community Center.

  • Construct a seasonal garden with a decorative fence for protection from traffic along East Bay Street.

  • Plant shade trees in the front and back terraces.

  • Construction of a shade structure and plant trees to connect the new gardens around the center.

  • Redesigned and renovated playground to serve two ages groups of children: 2-5 years old and 5-12 years old.

  • Addition of two half-sized basketball courts with shaded seating.

The project’s projected cost is about $400,000. The Conservancy is seeking donations and business partners to sponsor the project. To learn more about donating, contact Amy Carter at or 843-608-9369.