African American News and Genealogy

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Saturday, May 27, 2006

County to buy ex-slave town

Officials say deal keeps Mitchelville from builders BY GINNY SKALSKI, The Island Packet Published Tuesday, May 23, 2006 BEAUFORT -- Portions of historical land on Hilton Head Island that once served as the country's first town for freed slaves would be saved from development under a purchase approved Monday by the Beaufort County Council. The council voted to spend $225,000 toward buying 2.31 acres that once made up the town of Mitchelville, the first community established on Hilton Head after the Civil War. The purchase eventually could pave the way for the expansion of Fish Haul Creek Park -- a large chunk of the Mitchelville site already under the town's control -- to near Dillon Road. The deal is contingent upon the Hilton Head Town Council agreeing to contribute $225,000. The approval is expected to come at its next meeting, according to Russ Marane, project manager for The Trust for Public Land, a national nonprofit organization hired by the county and town to manage land acquisition programs. The land fronts Dillon Road near its intersection with Beach City Road. The Trust for Public Land is working to help the governments acquire six parcels totaling eight acres of the historic Mitchelville property, Marane said. "These properties are the only ones where we have the potential for willing sellers," Marane said. "The owners of other properties intend to develop their property." In all, he estimates it would cost about $3 million to buy the eight acres, with Beaufort County's share being up to $1 million. The town, state and federal government could contribute the rest, Marane said. The land's location near the shores of Port Royal Sound is desirable to developers, but Marane said there are a lot of groups interested in preserving it. Although no other land owners have agreed to sell, a replica of a Civil War general's house sits on some of the land under consideration, Marane said. Full Story:


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