Black River pic

This view of the Black River from the Lamar Nathaniel Johnson Bridge in Kingstree is about to be transformed. The Town of Kingstree has purchased tracts of land and with the help of several grants and Hospitality funds, plans are to create a space that will welcome visitors and provide indoor and outdoor activities throughout the year.

Photo by Michele Duke

If you’ve even been to Riverwalk in San Antonio Texas or much closer, Conway Riverwalk, you know the beauty that waits. For decades, transforming the Black River into a treasure for Williamsburg County in similar fashion has been a vision that has eluded the Town of Kingstree.

Until now.

Kingstree Town Council authorized the purchase of two tracts of Mill Street property adjacent to the landing. To date, the town is negotiating a price of $220,000 for the properties. Grants from Duke Energy, an investment group and the Pee Dee Land Trust totaling $170,000 plus $60,000 from the town’s Hospitality fund will be used for the purchase and legal fees.

Kingstree Town Manager Richard Treme said the land would not be used to build high rises or encroach on adjacent property owners. Rather, a community center will be established where events can be held and the landing will be widened for easier kayak launching. Other considerations are a trail, a wildlife educational center, and business hub.

A building that once housed furniture will be demolished, freeing up more space for outdoor activities such as a farmers’ market and an all-access playground. The steep decline adjacent to the Lamar Nathaniel Johnson Bridge will be transformed as well. Kingstree Main Street Project Director William Freeman said he would like to see a boardwalk that can be utilized as a nature walk and fishing take the place of the stones that currently cover the incline. “This piece of property in my mind lends itself for so much potential,” said Freeman. He added that work on the historic river must pass through the Army Corps of Engineers. “That’s a process but we’re going to start on the park as soon as possible.”