The Town of Bluffton received a Municipal Achievement Award for its Wright Family Park from the Municipal Association of South Carolina. The award was presented during the organization’s annual meeting in July on Hilton Head Island.
The town won the honor in the 10,001-20,000 population category. Twenty-seven cities and towns submitted their projects and initiatives for consideration in the annual awards.
With the expansion of its park offerings as a goal of its Old Town Master Plan, the Town of Bluffton had long sought to buy the Wright family property to make it a park. The property, vacant since the 1990s, is located on the May River and features the Squire Pope Carriage House, a structure with more than 150 years of history.
The town partnered with Beaufort County to purchase the property for $1.5 million, with an agreement that makes the town the park’s operating partner.
Archaeological digs by the Historic Bluffton Foundation yielded dozens of artifacts at the site. Town staff worked with the Wright family and preservation experts to incorporate the family’s and town’s history into the park’s signs, elements and landscaping.
“As it has been developed, the Wright Family Park gives all residents and visitors a better opportunity to experience the ecology, culture and identity of one of the South’s last historical river villages,” said Todd Glover, executive director for the Municipal Association.