Beaufort to have more 'open space'

Following up on detailed studies since 2010 and guidance already received through Beaufort’s master planning process of “City-building,” Beaufort leaders are seeking real estate help to sell off or trade underutilized city-owned parcels.  Among the properties is a potential home site on Ribaut Road that reaches to the Beaufort River shores.
“We are at the point now where we know we own some properties that are under utilized by the public, expensive to maintain and don’t fit in to our projected future needs. We know we need some additional parcels to provide and improve parklands and open space for our residents and the community at large,” Beaufort Mayor Billy Keyserling said.   The Beaufort County Open Land Trust and the Beaufort Planning and Parks Departments have been reviewing the city’s open space and parks since April 2010.
The Beaufort Redevelopment Commission this week is advertising for a real estate firm to assess property values for sale and will later assess yet to be disclosed parcels for improvement and purchase.

The ability to prepare and execute a plan of action for the acquisition and sale of public properties is central to the request for proposals.Expertise in commercial property valuations, and marketing with experience in potentially complex trades and swaps also will be weighted heavily in the selection, according to the RFP. Responses are due to City Manager Scott Dadson by noon on June 8.

The real estate firm to be hired will help the city with appraisals of the properties to be sold and with listing, marketing and selling the land. Revenues from the sales will go toward buying property for parks that is in better locations or provides other benefits, such as linking greenways or scenic vistas and making long overdue investment in existing parks needing attention, Dadson said.  “As we begin the serious work on the Boundary Street Redevelopment Corridor, and as the first phase of the Spanish Moss Rail Trail begin, we want to be ready with our open space and park plan,” he said.

Parcels considered for sale include:
· 410 Ribaut Road, NE Corner of North and Ribaut
· Wilson Park, a waterfront parcel on Ribaut Road
· Rodgers Street lot
· Prince Street pump station
· Police Storage Unit at Ribaut and Duke
· Parking lot at the Federal Courthouse along Bay Street.

“We must have an experienced real estate firm that understands our needs, understands the constraints we work under, and understands how all these pieces fit together in our quest to build a better Beaufort,” Keyserling said.