The Hardeeville Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism received a statewide award for the town’s new recreation center.
The department received the Parks Excellence Award in the under 30,000 population category from the South Carolina Recreation and Parks Association. The award is given to ministries that exemplify the celebration of people, parks and programs.
Association director Jim Headley presented the award to the city on February 3.
“We’re a very small state, but I think we’re one of the strongest states in the country when it comes to public parks and recreation because of our ability to get along,” Headley said.
Headley said each of the city council members should be commended for their work in helping build the recreation center and getting it ready for the public.
“The project that Hardeeville won the award for was a long time coming,” he said. “It takes vision and commitment, and without that it wouldn’t have been finished.”
Mayor Harry Williams said a nearby municipality noticed the recreation center.
“Hampton County Council Chairman Clay Bishop spoke to me in a meeting, saying he had heard good things about the new recreation center in Hardeeville,” Williams said. “He wanted a tour of the center and he also wanted to see how we did it, how we budgeted for it, how we were able to accomplish this. It was an inspiration to Hampton County and hopefully the, for many other people who aspire to this as well. Congratulations to the town of Hardeeville.
On July 31, the ribbon was cut on the $8.5 million, 35,000 square foot Hardeeville Recreation Center.
In 2018, Eugene P. Vukelic and his family donated just over five acres to Hardeeville as the city sought land to build a recreation center, according to a news release. Bobbitt Design Build was selected to lead the project.
The Recreation Center on the corner of John Smith Road and McTeer Street houses an NCAA-size basketball court that seats 1,000 spectators. There are also volleyball, racquetball, and pickleball courts, as well as an indoor walking track that wraps around the courts and a 2,200-square-foot event hall.
Lodging tax revenue provided $6.5 million in funding for the facility and the remaining $2 million came from borrowed funds, city officials said.