Horry County parks board approves 50-acre donation for Carolina Forest area park

Nearly 50-acre park could be coming to Carolina Forest area

HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WMBF) - The Horry County community and visitors may soon have a new park to check out.

Horry County is working on a 20-year parks and open spaces plan that would last through 2040. Over those two decades, there would be a number of projects included in the plan. But perhaps the most immediate project would be the potential addition of Queens Cove Park in Carolina Forest.

Queens Cove Garden Homes currently owns the nearly 50-acre piece of land that features several boat ramps onto the Intracoastal Waterway. The housing development offered the park to Horry County as a donation.

The Horry County Parks and Open Space Board decided to meet at the park to discuss the donation.

“It’s nice, I mean, generally speaking, we’re caught in the government building doing our thing," said Parks and Open Space Board District 3 Representative Kevin Kiely.

Kiely represents the Carolina Forest area on the board and has an idea of what he’d like to see the land be used for.

“There’s a need for a dog park in Carolina Forest, but it wouldn’t really fit in with the Hulk and the other trails in this area, so I think just some greenscape, landscape, possibly some park benches, maybe public facilities for restrooms, etc.," said Kiely.

The Horry County Parks and Open Space Board approved the donation at their meeting, which means it will now go to the planning and zoning commission before eventually making its way to the county council for final approval.

Queens Cove Park is just one of many projects outlined in the Horry County Parks and Open Space Plan that the board is in the process of finalizing.

Two of the larger projects in the plan are new recreation centers in Aynor and Loris scheduled to begin in 2023.

“There’s over $11 million for both the Aynor facility and Loris facility," said Kiely. "The priority at this point in time has been identified as a site acquisition.”

But funding is the issue. In total, the plan calls for $161 million in parks and recreation improvements through 2040.

“It really comes down to the people of Horry County to decide if they’re prepared to spend the money to do the projects, and then to be really creative in terms of sources of revenue," said Kiely.

The Horry County Parks and Open Space Board got a printed copy of that 20-year plan at their meeting Tuesday afternoon.

It’s 126 pages long, so they’ll have a couple of weeks to review that plan and make any comments or changes they’d like.

As early as November, they could take a final vote on that plan, which calls for $161 million in parks and recreation spending.

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