TREASURE ISLAND — Circumstances have never been easy for the 0.256-acre Isle of Palms Park, also known as “Triangle Park,” on the northeast corner of 112th Avenue A and Third Street East, but finally a streak of good luck has come its way.
In July 2018, Isle of Palms residents attended a work session and asked city commissioners to save their park, which had become the subject of real estate negotiations. Though the city owned the lot adjacent to the two parcels that were up for sale, it all comprised the small neighborhood Triangle Park.
At the time, Recreation Director Cathy Hayduke explained that owners of the property were heirs to Patricia Harris, Charles Brock and his wife, Jeanne Brock, the original signed lessors of the lease. The heirs each owned a one-sixth interest in the property.
The city of Treasure Island owned the adjacent lot, which was conveyed to the city by Charles Brock and Thomas Harris of Interbay Estates Inc. on June 13, 1978. The lot was given to the city to be used as a park and or recreational property in perpetuity as The Charles S. Brock Park.
In 1991, the city entered into a lease with Patricia Harris, Charles Brock and Jeanne Brock for Triangle Park for 100 years. The rent was fixed at $10 per month, with the city paying all taxes, utilities and insurances for the property, and each party having the option of terminating the lease with 90 days’ notice.
The city of Treasure Island had the right of first refusal to purchase the property should the owners receive an offer to buy their parcels, and the heirs notified the city they planned to sell.
The city and recreation staff entered into a series of back-and-forth negotiations to purchase the property.
On Aug. 21, 2018, the City Commission voted to authorize the purchase of the Isle of Palms Park property for $400,000, plus applicable closing costs of $8,606.
In September 2018, the city submitted a grant application to the Florida Communities Trust for the Forever Florida Parks and Open Space grant program for the purchase of the Isle of Palms Park.
Hayduke noted she and Mayor Tyler Payne went to the Communities Trust in Tallahassee, and their presentation earned the city’s funding request another important 10 points. The city’s Isle of Palms Project placed 11th-highest on the final priority funding list; however, the trust ran out of funds before the city’s project could be awarded its appropriation.
However, last month, good luck once again graced the tiny pocket park that had lost out on state funding about three years earlier. At an Oct. 18 meeting, Hayduke told city commissioners that the Florida Department of Environmental Protection notified staff on Sept. 20 that another city had dropped out of the grant program and Treasure Island’s project had been awarded a grant from the Florida Communities Trust 2018-19 funding cycle.
The city was approved for the original amount of its application, $286,024, or 70% of the total project cost, whichever is lower. The city committed to providing $122,581, or 30% of the project costs, whichever is lower. The land purchase price was $400,000, with acquisition costs of $8,606 for a total purchase price of $408,606
“We have to make sure we have three recreational items at the park” and promise the land will remain a park in perpetuity, she explained.
The recreation director said the city committed to upgrading park facilities. Upgrades include the removal of the shuffleboard court to be replaced with an open space event area and decreasing the pervious surface area of the park to improve stormwater drainage.
In addition, existing playground equipment would be removed and replaced with modern play equipment and engineered mulch surfacing for improved safety.
Other amenities will include picnic tables, a water fountain and dog-friendly amenities. A sidewalk/walking trail will be created on the southwest side of the property to link the park entrances and provide additional connectivity to the surrounding sidewalk network for increased accessibility to the public beach and the Central Beach Trail, Hayduke said.
City commissioners unanimously agreed to accept the Florida Trust Grant.