CONWAY, S.C. (WBTW) – On Wednesday evening, dozens gathered at a ribbon ceremony in downtown Conway to celebrate the renovated space.
With fall just days away, the Conway community now has a new place to enjoy the outdoors .
Kingston Park is a gathering space for the community, but more than that, the park tells the story of Conway incorporating the city’s past, present, and future.
Two years ago, approval was granted to start renovations on the unrecognizable and unnoticed space of grass that now brings life to the heart of downtown.
“This corner is one of the most prominent corners of downtown and we wanted to make it a showpiece for people coming into town for the first time and make it something that people who have lived here all their lives can be proud of,” City of Conway Administrator Adam Emerick said.
From the string of lights hanging above to the historic bricks below, to the shoe-fly train numbered 62 mural and all of the brand new features in between, the city’s past, present, and future went into account in the creation of the new park.
“The bricks we are standing on right now are historic bricks. They were rescued from a historic building that was torn down in Charleston. It was a 1700’s building. They were given as a donation to the city of Conway,” Emerick said.
One moment Kingston Park is a flashback in time and in the blink of an eye it’s a vision of the future.
“We are a city of history and we are a city of variety of people and backgrounds and I think the mural and everything else that makes this park so beautiful come to life here,” Mayor of Conway Barbara Bellamy said.
Mayor Bellamy said the City of Conway staff far exceeded her expectations for this project.
The artist of the mural, Thomas Simpson, has been painting murals like the one in Kingston Park for nearly 40 years.
His inspiration for the wall art came from old pictures of the 62 shoe-fly train that used to travel the road near Main Street.
Simpson said the goal was to paint a mural that represented the past so it was not forgotten while the new landscape and features such as the tree waterfall and represented newness.
Combing the past and future was thought to keep the town alive and going and building onto the city’s history and riches.
The train depot mural took Simpson only three weeks to create and that was including some of the rain delays he encountered.
Kingston Park has been under renovation for nearly two years and is officially open as of Wednesday.
The park neighbors a coffee shop making it a place for the community to grab a cup and take in Conway’s newest infrastructure.
City of Conway administrators say the completion of Kingston Park is just the beginning of the city’s larger project.