The Davis-Bailey Park will be located on 15 acres adjacent to the County Courthouse in St. George. All design documents, construction documents and permitting have been completed. The true multi-use Park will feature youth baseball fields, basketball courts, a multi-purpose field, walking trail, event pavilion, playground and pond.
Naming rights and partnership opportunities are currently available through our partners at Friends of Dorchester County Parks.
In 2011, County Council allocated $850,000 of 2010 Bond Proceeds for development activities related to Davis-Bailey Park in St. George. This amount was based on a 2008 conceptual plan and cost estimate for the park, which included two lighted baseball fields, a soccer field, three tennis courts, three basketball courts, a concession building, and a picnic pavilion.
In September of 2014, Dorchester County hired its first Parks and Recreation Department staff member to oversee this project and to develop a countywide parks and recreation system.
Almost immediately, wetland delineation work was started for the Davis-Bailey Park property. Based on feedback from the US Army Corps of Engineers, it was determined that the portion of the property to the northeast of the Courthouse was the only viable location for a park due to the abundance and location of wetlands on the property. It also became clear at this time that the overall park footprint would be reduced due to wetlands.
As part of the 2015 County Parks and Recreation Master Plan Update process, Parks and Recreation staff solicited public feedback on the Davis-Bailey project and other county park and recreation initiatives. The major theme of feedback regarding Courthouse Park was for more diverse recreation opportunities beyond youth athletic fields and courts.
In May of 2016, the county signed a contract with ADC Engineering to provide planning, permitting, design, bidding and construction administration services for the project.
Public feedback gathered in 2015 was incorporated into the master plan which included: two illuminated youth baseball fields, an illuminated soccer/multiuse field, two illuminated basketball courts, a concession building, an event pavilion, a playground, adult fitness equipment, a pond, a one-mile paved walking trail, and an area designated for a spray fountain (not part of initial construction). County Council approved this master plan at its 8/8/16 meeting and permitting and design moved forward.
Unfortunately, the actions of outside regulatory agencies delayed design progress for a couple of months.
Design and permitting work were substantially completed in October of 2017 and the project has been ready to bid out for construction since that time.
The estimated cost of construction is $4.4M.
After fees related to surveys, permitting, and design work and accounting for revenues from timbering recently completed on the project were paid, a balance of $538,302.97 remains for the Davis-Bailey Park project (until 2016 Bond Referendum proceeds are available).
Additionally, two grants have been secured to assist with funding. A $100,000 grant will help fund walking trail construction and a $125,000 grant will go towards pavilion construction. Corporate champions are also being sought for naming rights opportunities.
In November of 2016, a parks and libraries capital bond referendum was placed on the ballot. If passed, a portion of the $13 million designated for park development would be utilized to augment construction funding for the $4.4M Davis-Bailey Park project. Voters passed the referendum by over 61%.
Unfortunately, Dorchester County Taxpayers Association filed a lawsuit claiming the referendum was invalid due to libraries and parks being included in the same ballot question.
2017 - 2019
In December of 2017, First Circuit Court Judge Edgar W. Dickson dismissed the lawsuit, but the plaintiffs immediately asked for reconsideration. The motion for reconsideration was promptly denied by Judge Dickson. The plaintiffs then filed a formal appeal in March of 2018. The appeal was heard by the SC Supreme Court in October of 2018. On May 8th, 2019, the SC Supreme Court overturned the lower court's ruling, effectively invalidating the 2016 voter-approved funding for this and other parks.
Bid documents for Davis-Bailey Park construction are ready to be posted shortly after funding is secured. A construction period of nine to twelve months is anticipated.
In December of 2018, County Council adopted a resolution naming the park Davis-Bailey Park in honor of County Council Chairman George Bailey and the late, long-serving County Councilman Willie Davis. Both men, life-long leaders in the County and community, were instrumental in making the park and associated recreational opportunities a priority for their districts.