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Mar 30, 2024

A Note from Bluffton Mayor Larry Toomer

Larry Toomer

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“Someone is sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago.”

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Bluffton Park Project

Warren Buffett, one of our nation’s most prominent investors and an acclaimed businessman, said, “Someone is sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago.” As we enter the fourth month of the year, I want to let you know what is being “planted” in terms of the town’s park projects. 

Our parks highlight Bluffton’s natural beauty and provide a place for neighbors to come together. Oyster Factory Park, one of the town’s busiest parks, is currently undergoing enhancements. The pavilion side of the park is closed until late April. The town is installing several features to the event area so it will be more user friendly and easier to maintain. 

The project features a brick terrace and steps adjacent to the existing pavilion, a large gathering deck built around a live oak in the middle of the park; a bandstand with an adjacent paver dance floor; a perimeter brick and tabby sidewalk; pervious, crushed stone surface on the interior of the space; upgraded power service to accommodate events and food trucks; and enhanced lighting, site furnishings and landscaping.  

All private functions have been moved to the opposite side of the park, where the Garvin-Garvey House is located, until construction is finished. This is an exception to the Town’s event rules due to construction and the high demand for the park. After construction, events will resume on the pavilion side.

Oscar Frazier Park, located within the Bluffton Park neighborhood, will have a splash pad by the end of summer. This feature has been requested by numerous residents throughout the years and town leaders are pleased to be able to add this feature, especially for residents who don’t have access to a community pool. 

Excitement is also building about the town’s largest venue, the New Riverside Barn park. The town is working diligently to have the park open by the end of this year. The barn, which is the park’s centerpiece, will be renovated and enhanced. The barn is expected to be open in Spring 2026 for public and private events and is expected to be a highly sought-after location for Bluffton weddings. 

Finally, the rehabilitation of the Squire Pope Carriage House, located in Wright Family Park, will be complete in the spring. This antebellum house, which survived 1863’s Burning of Bluffton, was a private residence until May 2017. The town and Beaufort County, through its Rural & Critical Land Preservation Program, jointly bought this property for $1.5 million dollars under the agreement that the town would be the operating partner. 

The Town retained as much of the original material of this house as possible during its rehabilitation. However, the house will have all new mechanicals installed, such as electric, heating and air, plumbing, and fire protection. A time capsule, which will include documents about house and its many chapters will be installed inside a wall on the first floor. The Wright family’s door knocker, which has sentimental value to the family, will be reinstalled when the house is complete. 

The town’s new Welcome Center will open on the first floor of the house in early 2025.  

As mayor, I hope all the metaphoric “trees” that are being planted will bring our residents joy in the years to come. 


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