NORTH MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WBTW) – Conservationists are celebrating the purchase of most of the Ingram Dunes property by the city.
The Ingram Dunes are about a quarter-mile from the Atlantic Ocean, are roughly 50 feet above sea level, and according to the city, they aren’t going anywhere.
“It’s a bit of a miracle that this has been saved,” said Damien Triouleyre, the coordinator of the Preserve Ingram Dunes group.
The city says it bought 7.24 acres of the 9.35-acre property for $2.5 million. The entire property was valued at $3.1 million. A closing on the property will happen no later than June 21.
The Ingram family donated $1.4 million to help lock in the price.
“We’re incredibly joyous, relieved and extremely thankful to the Ingrams,” Triouleyre said.
Preserve Ingram Dunes raised about $100,000. That’s part of the $1.1 million in total donations from members of the public.
Preserve Ingram Dunes also pushed the city and the South Carolina Conservation Bank to help and they did. Both gave $500,000 each.
Houses will be built on seven lots on the remaining 2.11 acres off Strand Avenue. That’s 24 fewer lots than if the whole property was developed.
The city says the compromise was necessary because of the cost of the property.
“If we hadn’t gone that route, we would not have been able to close the gap between the $3.1 million asking price,” said city spokesperson Pat Dowling.
The city says it will treat Ingram Dunes like a nature preserve.
“It’s going to probably be a very simple park,” Dowling said. “Obviously, we’re not going to do any natural changes in there.”
Triouleyre says his group will continue to help make sure the state’s oldest and tallest dunes on the coast can teach and be enjoyed by anyone.
“They would maybe bring groups of schoolkids there to learn about our coastal forest, but obviously it has to be done very carefully,” he said.
The city also says it will also hold a ceremony to thank everyone who donated at a later date.