Park Circle is a live/work community nestled on the Cooper River six miles north of downtown Charleston. As the area’s first mixed use planned community in the early 1900s, Park Circle is a “garden city” residential neighborhood anchored around a bikeable circular roadway, which is abutted by expansive green space and recreational facilities. Its vibrant downtown area of Olde Village boasts a number of popular shops and restaurants.
The homes of Park Circle are mostly mid-century Craftsman bungalows and ranch houses, along with a number of larger Colonial Revivals. Modern, high performance homes are featured in its newer infill developments of Mixson, Oak Terrace Preserve, and Hunley Waters.
The planned urban design of Park Circle makes it easily walkable and bikeable, with low street traffic and many sidewalks. At the center of the community is the actual park of Park Circle, a 36 acre green space in and around the large traffic circle. Main roads extend out radially from the traffic circle to define the residential streets, making navigation easy for residents walking and biking between the residential neighborhoods, the shops and restaurants of Olde Village, and the ample recreational facilities throughout the community.
Front porches promote a sense of community as neighbors greet each other on their regular walks. The Danny Jones Recreation Complex is a short walk from the neighborhood, and a number of schools are clustered in and around Oak Terrace Preserve, including Academic Magnet, Liberty Hill Academy, Charleston County School of the Arts, and anchoring the very center of the neighborhood, North Charleston Creative Arts Elementary.
Since Oak Terrace Preserve is nestled within the larger village of Park Circle, many residents enjoy walking and bicycling through the residential streets of Park Circle’s midcentury homes and visiting the shops and restaurants of historic Olde North Charleston. While schools and recreation abound within walking distance, nearly all shops and restaurants are a 30 minute walk (10 minute bicycle ride) from the neighborhood – however the route hits all the high points – the recreational complex, the center of Park Circle, and into the downtown of Olde North Charleston on Montague Avenue.
To the south of Oak Terrace Preserve is another modern, sustainable Park Circle development, Mixson, which contains a small market, restaurant, and a trendy swim and social outfit, The Mixson Bath & Racquet Club. Mixson is 20 minute walk (7 minute bicycle ride) from Oak Terrace Preserve.
The master plan of Oak Terrace Preserve includes a number of green spaces and pocket parks throughout the neighborhood, infusing the development with spots of serene nature. The low impact development efforts also include the preservation of hundreds of old growth magnolia and oak trees – the community’s namesake – as well as the incorporation of rain gardens and natural bio-swales that serve to control stormwater runoff. Encircling Oak Terrace Preserve is a run/walk fitness trail made of recycled pliable rubber for sustainability and comfort.
Outside the main entrance to the neighborhood, the Danny Jones Recreation Complex contains a number of facilities including a tennis center, gymnasium, a field for football and rugby, as well as a year-round indoor pool. Just across the street is the Mixson Avenue Dog Park.
At the very center of the Park Circle district is Park Circle itself – 36 acres of recreational facilities in around the defining traffic circle. Within the center of the traffic circle there is the Felix Jones Community Center, two baseball/softball fields, picnic areas, and a butterfly garden – a number of festivals are based here, as well as a weekly farmers market. Outside the perimeter of the traffic circle is a buffer of green space, where you will find the unique, 18-basket Park Circle Disc Golf Course.
The area around Park Circle originally served to house primary naval officers during the Second World War. While the quaint midcentury homes of Park Circle enjoyed a revitalization in the 1990s and 2000s, the elliptical streets set out in the northwest quadrant, known at Century Oaks, continued to fall into disrepair.
In 2001, the City of North Charleston identified a number of areas around Park Circle as targets for redevelopment, and in 2003 purchased the land. The plan was to transform the 55 acre project into a sustainable community of modern, high performance homes. A core objective of the project was minimal land impact, achieve through preservation old growth trees and a cutting edge stormwater management system through green spaces, bioswales, and previous hardscapes.