Text of speech to County Council 1/28/2019

1/28/2019 County Council  

I am Paul Butare, the Chairman of a non-profit organization, Friends of Whitehall Park. For the benefit of new Council members, and for Mr. Weaver, who may not be aware of our history here is a brief recap. We formed our organization just 6 months ago due to our perception that there was great public interest in acquiring nearly 10 acres at Whitehall for a public park. Our group established a Change.org petition, circulated a paper petition, established an informational website and a Facebook page. It was gratifying to see signatures grow rapidly…a few hundred to a thousand...to 6000 over a six-week period. Furthermore, our supporters showed their support in person and stretched the room capacity of each County and City meeting held. 

And finally, we formed a steering committee with representatives from the City, County, Open Land Trust, Whitehall Development Group and Friends, aiming to provide a forum for communication and cooperation. Thank you for your support and approval for the purchase. We now have the land…

Our supporters are anxiously awaiting our park, and progress seemed to have been made. The cancelation of the Feb 6th County planning meeting was a shock and disappointment. 

Further, the filing of a new document on Friday seems to call into question access to the park, and at a minimum, delays the work necessary to get the park in a position to open… 

In our hearts we all know that when this temporary disagreement ends, we will have a park; we will have good access to the park. There is no reasonable alternative. 

Our supporters and Beaufort County Citizens believe we are all working in earnest to create a park and that we are satisfying our commitments to them. 

And a significant delay would be disheartening and

we run the risk of using up the public goodwillwe all have accrued. 

We have the responsibility to inform our audience, supporters and donors of a material change in the timing and structure of the park, if that has changed, and would ask that this be clarified as soon as possible.

Friends of Whitehall Park urge a rapid resolution of any remaining issues and a restart of the already good progress that has been made.

Thank you for listening.

The Island News August 2nd


Beaufort County Open Land Trust email




Island news article:


See Example Comments From Change.org and Facebook

Scroll down VVVVVVV


Your comments

Some comments from the petition

  • It's the right thing to do for Beaufort
  • Such natural beauty needs to be preserved and shared by all of Beaufort. Thank you for your work!
  • A huge part of Beaufort’s uniqueness and allure rests on its natural beauty and the availability of this beauty for the public to enjoy.
  • Makes me so sad to think what could be lost forever...a park would be a sweet compromise!
  • This is a wonderful way to allow development and at the same time preserve the beautiful greenery of LI
  • Please do not let this opportunity go by! Thank you!
  • This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to create another one of the best urban parks in the Southeast just like the Henry C. Chambers Waterfront Park. Let's get behind this!!!
  • Beaufort County is growing rapidly and before we know it, unless we do something about it, there will be no more open land left.  Please plan ahead and save this beautiful property.
  • Beaufort and the low country is so special. It's a place unlike anything left in the country today. Whitehall and it's majestic moss laden oaks should be preserves for future generations to be able to enjoy and understand "Southern" and the genteel way we once lived. Please don't let it be lost forever!
  • We need the most green space we can get - because flooding is getting worse and because it has been confirmed that being in nature is very healthy for us.  We MUST preserve this for all future generations as well. WE can not be selfish.
  • I am all for a new park on Lady’s Island instead of more development
  • The Whitehall is an irreplaceable treasure.
  • It is such a beautiful space & should be preserved for all to enjoy!
  • The Whitehall Park will be a great thing for Beaufort!
  • Please preserve this beautiful, unique and irreplaceable waterfront property.
  • Of all the sensitive properties in our area that deserve as much preservation as possible, Whitehall is surely at the top of the list. I sincerely hope that this arrangement can become a reality.
  • It is the Beauty and views of Beaufort that makes it so special, gazing at a sunset, dolphins or the water we live on through someone else’s backyard is not the life we want. Support this option, regardless development will come and we have to catch up!
  • We need this!
  • This is priceless and another amazing place in Beaufort and needs to be kept for posterity
  • I'd love to use the park
  • This Lowcountry gem deserves to be protected and for all to enjoy. Let’s do this before sites like this disappear and we have missed our chance. How sad would that be?!?
  • Whitehall needs to have some type of park or preservation.  We don’t need more high rise blogs further desecrating the view of the river.
  • Beaufort is too beautiful for all not to have a place to enjoy.
  • I'd like to see as much of this land stay as natural as possible, and this is a good compromise if it ends up being developed.
  • We must think long-term for the enrichment of our community. We won’t regret this.
  • This beautiful piece of land needs to be preserved!!
  • What about a nature park? Something to celebrate the beauty that already exists?  Even NYC had the foresight to set aside Prime property as a city park!  Something for rich and poor alike to come together in the beauty that is ours.
  • Love that the owners are willing to sacrifice even part of the land for public use. Could we afford to buy it for nature conservation ? Probably not, but voting for that would be worth it!
  • My kids and I….all said  said, this would be a great place for a park! I hope that goes through as long as they can keep the beauty & serenity of the natural area. What a beautiful space I think would benefit all, especially families with little ones! Nothing more entertaining than Mother Nature!!!
  • You can't improve what nature has already built leave it alone to be enjoyed as is