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Elizabeth Brinkley Park expansion breaks ground

Revised on: 08.3.2018 at 11:14 a.m.

Posted on: 07.27.2018 at 11:00 a.m.

By Jefferson Weaver

jeffersonweaver@nrcolumbus.com

As a child, Susan Prescott Little remembered having plenty to do at Lake Waccamaw, although there was no playground.

That lack bothered her father, Wendell Prescott Sr.

“My brothers would walk to Hallsboro to the school,” she said Wednesday, “but there really wasn’t any set place here at the Lake where children could play. My father set out to change that.”

Little and her husband “Mack,” along with town officials, turned ceremonial spades of earth Wednesday at the site of the new 27 acre expansion of the park named for Little’s grandmother, Elizabeth Brinkley.

Mrs. Brinkley ran the Osceola Lodge, a popular vacation spot for hunters and fishermen visiting the lake. Prescott — who later served as mayor of the lake — fell in love with the area after marrying Mrs. Brinkley’s daughter, Mary Sue. The Prescotts moved to the lake in 1939.

As Wendell Jr. and Jack joined other children walking or bicycling several miles to Hallsboro Artesia school playground, Prescott worked to establish a park closer to town.

In 1992, Little said, the first 6.63 acres of Elizabeth Brinkley Park was donated to the town. The park was named for the lady known for her love of the lake and the local environment.

“My mother was embarrassed that it was named for my grandmother,” Little laughed. Another 12.69 acres was added in 2003, a project the Littles explained solved two problems at the same time.

“The town was involved in a stormwater project,” Mack Little explained, “and used some of the dirt from the retention pond to build up the low areas. Everything is just flat around here, and they needed a place to put the dirt that came from the pond.”

The fill helped raise the land sufficiently to improve drainage, thus allowing more playing fields and other amenities at the park. That portion of the park utilized a $189,721 Parks and Recreation Trust Fund (PARTF) grant.

The new addition, which more than doubles the size of the facility, will feature exercise trails, a dog park, parking, nature trails and walking paths, as well as more playing space for baseball and softball. A fence and decorative vegetation will shield the park from Sam Potts Highway as well as keeping children and dogs inside.

The park is one of the most heavily utilized in the county parks system for sporting events. Officials hope to see a broader range of activities as the new section is completed.

The latest expansion will utilize a combination of loans and grant funding, Town Manager Harry Foley said.

“We really appreciate this family’s love for the town,” Foley said. “This is going to be a grand park when it gets finished.”

Mrs. Little said she thinks her parents and grandmother would be pleased.

“My grandmother said there were two types of people in this world – those who throw down a piece of trash, and those who clean it up,” Mrs. Little said. “She was the kind who would pick things up that others threw down. She didn’t want a lot of attention, but she cared about her community.”

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