Greenwood Parks and Trails Foundation
Greenwood’s Grace Street Park
A Great Park and a Great Future
Greenwood’s newest park is open at 112 Merrywood Drive. Designed for the people of Greenwood and visitors from everywhere, the park is unique in its history, diversity of landscape and variety of activities offered.
The City of Greenwood originally used the site at the corner of Grace Street and the Highway 72 Bypass as the location for a water filtration plant and a large public park. At the beginning of the twentieth century visitors enjoyed a lily pond, a meadow and an impressive stone arch bearing the name Oak Hill Park. From the 1930’s to the 1950’s the property accommodated a nine-hole municipal golf course and a clubhouse. A few folks in Greenwood still remember the ninth tee located on top of an impressive bluff that made even mediocre tee shots look impressive.
In the 1980’s Greenwood’s Commission of Public Works closed the water filtration plant and moved to Lake Greenwood. The physical plant and two man-made reservoirs were abandoned. The reservoirs and former public golf course all but disappeared in wooded overgrowth. By the end of the century newcomers and younger-generation Greenwoodians were unaware that they had ever existed. Neighborhood children explored a now wild territory on foot and on mountain bikes.
Beginnings of Restoration
The Greater Greenwood Parks and Trails Foundation began work in the 1990’s to restore the fifty-four acre property to one of its original purposes—use as a green space for public recreation. A 2011 lease agreement between the City of Greenwood and the GGPTF envisioned a park for “urban outdoor enjoyment of the public at large.” Funding was to be provided by private grants and individual donations. Nearly all of the park development to date has been achieved through volunteer labor and corporate, foundation and private donors. Lawyers, architects, engineers and landscapers have contributed pro bono time and expertise while specific projects have been funded by local companies and business associations.
The plan adopted by the Parks and Trails Foundation called for two phases of development. At the beginning of 2016 Phase I is near completion. The centerpiece is a large pond, one of the two former CPW reservoirs. The Greenwood Realtors Association Walking Trail follows the water’s edge. For exercisers three laps make a mile. Less active visitors can enjoy the park benches and contemplate the large water plume generated by an aeration fountain. Several species of ducks and Canadian geese have taken up residence while a wild blue heron visits frequently. A duck feeding station is in place and an aquatic garden is planned.
The pond and the surrounding park have great educational value. Lander University ecology students helped determine that the pond was environmentally healthy and the Department of Biology is using the pond for research. A “Bio-blitz” in the spring of 2016 will combine biological and photo studies. The Parks Foundation is planning installation of signage with QR codes (that can be read by smart phones and other scanners) so that visitors can learn about the region’s environment and natural history.
The Pavilion and Playground
The completed Fuji Pavilion with a Japanese styled roof overlooks the pond. This facility and its picnic tables can be reserved for group functions, but is otherwise open to the public. Nearby a playground designed for safety and natural harmony is under construction.
The SPF Dog Park is one of the most popular features of the park. It consists of separate fenced areas for large and small dogs to run freely. A third area for training and hosting regional dog shows is under development. Facilities are planned for watering and washing pets. Outside a memorial plaza will be paved with bricks given by donors in memory of beloved pets. Near the area are five colorful and playful pet-themed sculptures given by Lander art students. Dogs on leashes may be walked anywhere in the larger park, including the natural one-third mile dog park trail.
The components of Phase I are served by a fifty-five car parking lot on Merrywood Road, a (human) water fountain, restrooms and a kiosk. All installations in the park are connected to the car park and to each other by paths and trials.
Phase II in the development of Grace Street Park begins in 2016. Current planning includes hiking and nature trails (especially in the hardwood forests), trails to accommodate mountain bikes, and a 5K run. New water features will include a flowing brook and a fountain. An envisioned plaza, a terraced lawn and an outdoor stage will accommodate many types of events including weddings, family reunions and concerts. More playgrounds and another parking lot will be added.
Enjoy, Support and Donate
Come and enjoy the newly opened features. Bring children, friends and pets. And, if you like what is being planned for the future, join the Parks Foundation, volunteer (email: firstname.lastname@example.org), donate or dedicate a bench as we continue to develop Greenwood’s wonderful new green space.
Grace Street Park Donors
Land made available by Commissioners of Public Works, City of Greenwood, and Greenwood School District 50.
Donors (over $10,000)
SPF North America, Inc.
Greenwood Association of Realtors
Emerald City Rotary Club
Donors of In Kind Services or Supplies
Greenway Construction Group, LLC (Wes Funderburk)
R& J Stump Removal (Larry Gosnell)
Timberline Tree Service, LLC (Troy Ellis)
Thompson Forest Consultants, Inc.
Heaner, Inc. (Chip Funderburk)
Touch of Green Landscape Management, Inc. (Dee Burnett)
Anderson Construction of Greenwood, Inc. (Kenny Anderson)
Chandler Construction Services, Inc. (Joe Chandler)
Bestway Signs (Tommy Tunstall)
BHC Trucking, Inc.
Vulcan Materials Co.
Simmons Lawn Care & Landscaping (Ben Simmons)
Emerald Ink & Stitches (Steve Riley)
Mathis Plumbing & Heating Co., Inc. (Wayne Mathis)
Carolina Brush and Land Clearing (Rich Christian)
Adams Pest Control (Larry Adams)
Commissioners of Public Works
City of Greenwood
Warner’s Pump Service (George Warner)
DSP Architects, Inc. (Steve Dorn)
Lowe’s of Greenwood
Rogers Well Drilling
County of Greenwood
Boy Scouts of America
Young's Concrete Contracting Inc.
Hack Bartley Family
Greenwood Calendar www.greenwoodcalendar.com
Catholic Women’s Club
Greenwood Endurance Team
Roger & Leslie Stevenson
Greenwood Rotary Club
Chrysanthemum Garden Club
Camp Chinquapin for Critters, Inc.
Chinquapin Animal Hospital, LLC
Greenwood County Community Foundation
Nicholson, Meredith and Anderson, LLC
Howell & Helen Spiller
John & Kathryn Eichelberger
George & Catherine Swindell
Daffodil Garden Club
Iris Garden Club
Butler Family Fund
Unit One Garden Club
Ameriprise Financial (Chris Cabri)
Clendenin Lumber Company Employees