Greenwood Park Renovation ADA Playground Keystone > GSA Business

This story first appeared in the July 11 print edition of the GSA Business Report.

Irmo’s Leo Bugenske loves the outdoors — so much so that the 8-year-old has inspired at least two cutting-edge play parks across his state and one named after him.

Bugenske was also born with severe spinal muscular atrophy.

He moves from place to place using a modified stroller due to deterioration of nerve cells affecting his movement, but according to Johns Hopkins Medicine, the condition does not affect patients’ intellect or their ability to perceive the world around them.

So when Bugenske’s family wanted their son, and other kids like him, to enjoy swings and ride platforms alongside their able-bodied cohorts, they helped Saluda Shoals Park create Leo’s Landing Inclusive. playground in 2019.

The park includes a Treehouse Village connected by a ramp, a wheelchair swing, hobbit-inspired playhouses and inflatable recumbent chairs, among other features, according to Recreation Commission Irmo Chapin. Contract Construction, builders of the park, celebrated the grand opening of the park’s two-acre expansion, including an ADA-accessible zipline, snow park, and music and decompression garden on May 5, according to a company statement.

The success of Leo’s Landing prompted Greenwood County to use $1 million from the American Rescue Plan Act to make an ADA-accessible playground the centerpiece of a $10 million renovation plan. dollars for the 80-acre Greenwood County Recreation Complex, according to county officials.

Greenwood County received $13.7 million in ARPA funds, according to the US Treasury Department.

“It’s a shame we don’t have a playground for everyone,” Brad Cuttill, director of the Greenwood County Department of Parks and Recreation, told SC Biz News. “So I’m really excited about this: updating this so that everyone can use it.”

The initial phases of the renovation of the Greenwood County Recreation Complex will cost the county nearly $10 million, including $1 million from the county's ARPA fund.  (Rendered/Provided)The playground tops a wish list of projects, which Cuttill says won’t be completed with the first $9.1 million allocated from the county’s capital fund for the complex.

He expects the 40-year-old park, former home of the Greenwood Braves, to gain three multi-purpose sports fields; an outdoor fitness area; a renovated baseball complex with new fencing, bathrooms and lighting; as well as up to eight pickleball courts and refurbished tennis courts.

Plans for an indoor gym will be under discussion for future phases, he said.

According to Cuttill, Greenwood County is currently subcontracting the project and aims to start in late 2022 or early 2023. The contractor, who could not yet be named, said the project would take them about 18 months.

McMillan Pazdan Smith created original renderings for the project’s master plan, and officials said North Carolina firm JD Goodrum won the bid to renovate the park. The county is preparing for “phased design construction” at this point, where the contractor is hired before the plans are made, according to Cuttill.

“It was a long-term project,” said Councilman Robbie Templeton, also associate vice president of Countybanc Insurance. “It’s been my dream and the council’s dream for probably 10 years, but we just don’t have the financial capacity to do it.

The park’s renovation was first approved by community vote when Greenwood County Council passed a move to use a percentage of county sales tax for certain capital projects, according to Templeton.

“We are trying to find a balance between supporting the recreational needs of our growing community, but also leveraging sports tourism to make it an economic driver for the community,” he said.

Harold B. McConnell