SCPRT Director Shares Future Plans for Local State Parks

The restoration and renovation of the "House on the Hill" at Cheraw State Park may soon become reality, according to South Carolina Parks Recreation & Tourism Director Duane Parish.

Parish and Phil Gaines, State Park Services Director, were in Cheraw April 2 at the invitation of Mayor Andy Ingram to tour Cheraw and see firsthand the town's recreation facilities and historic areas related to local tourism. After the tour, Parish and Gaines met with Ingram, town council members, town and chamber administrative staff as well as park and industry representatives to discuss their vision for Cheraw State Park and H. Cooper Black Jr. Memorial Field Trial and Recreation Area.

Parish said the "House on the Hill" project is one of several proposals planned to enhance the park experience for the community. According to Gaines, SCPRT wants to partner with local corporations, industries and businesses to raise an estimated $250,000 to restore the 80-year old structure to its original rustic elegance with French doors and a large deck on the back overlooking the wooded surroundings. Once complete, the building, constructed by the Civilian Conservations Corps (CCC) in the 1930's, would be available for receptions, meetings, and community gatherings.

Parish added he is also working with state legislators on the approval of a revenue bond that would provide park villas at Cheraw State Park which would be suitable for golfers and families. Parish said the revenue bond would not create an additional burden for the state's taxpayers, but would be paid by funds generated from rental of the villas. Parish also told the group that he would like to see a local Friends of the Cheraw State Park organized that would volunteer at park events, help in fund-raising efforts and assist with a number of park projects.

In addition to the projects at the state park, Gaines said current needs at H. Cooper Black include an additional pond plus a second meeting facility that would allow equestrian and dog events to be held simultaneously.

Parish commended Mark Davies, Cheraw State Park manager, and Butch Driggers, H. Cooper Black manager, for their leadership and coordination of various events at the parks, specifically the 2013 National Retriever Trial at H. Cooper Black this November and the launch of the Outdoor Music Room and opening of the swimming area this past summer as well as the addition of a number of family-oriented activities at the Cheraw State Park.

In closing, Parish expressed his excitement for SCPRT's new advertising agency of record, BFG Communications of Bluffton. The focus of the agency's new marketing campaign is "Undiscovered South Carolina", an aggressive campaign that will market the many "undiscovered" aspects of the Palmetto State including Cheraw and Chesterfield County.