23-acre state park on James Island

Get the details on this green space.

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A state park is coming to James Island at the end of Fort Johnson Road.

Via Fort Johnson & May Forest Master Plan Meeting

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Something green is coming to Charleston, and we’re not talking about St. Patrick’s Day. A new state park is in the works at the tip of James Island. We spoke with SC State Parks Director Paul McCormack for the latest on the project.

Where will it be located?

The waterfront park will be located on 23 acres at the end of Fort Johnson Road, adjacent to the Fort Johnson historic site. The parcel is managed by the SC Dept. of Parks, Recreation & Tourism.

In 2021, the state purchased the land from the Sisters of Charity of Our Lady of Mercy for $23 million. The May Forest Convent located on-site is expected to be converted into an event venue that will be the main component of the new park. Funding has not yet been secured for the venue construction project.

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Take a look at plans for Fort Johnson, which surrounds the future state park. | Via Fort Johnson & May Forest Master Plan Meeting

What will the park feature?

Charlestonians can look forward to a day-use recreation and picnicking area with views of the Charleston Harbor, the Ravenel Bridge, and Fort Sumter. There is an existing gazebo and bench swing. Conceptual images are not yet available, but stay tuned.

An event space, lodging, and a dock may be added in the future. A structural assessment of the property is expected to determine park features down the road. What would you like to see this new park offer? Let us know.

In addition, there is a master plan that envisions the entire ~100-acre Fort Johnson area that is separate from the state park project.

What is the timeline?

The park is expected to open this spring or summer. There is currently no timeline for potential future amenities, but keep an eye on the newsletter for updates. The plans for Fort Johnson, which surrounds the state park area, are long-term.

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