|Melton Peter Demetre Park|
|Location||640 Wampler Drive, Charleston, South Carolina|
|Area||5.0 acres (2.0 ha)|
|Operated by||City of Charleston|
Melton Peter Demetre Park is a municipal park in Charleston, South Carolina. Some locals still refer to it by the nickname "Sunrise Park", the park was officially dedicated and named Melton Peter Demetre Park around 2007 after its owner, who deeded the land to the City Of Charleston for use as a park.
Melton Demetre owned a parcel of land which provided views across Charleston Harbor to The Battery and surrounding landmarks. During the 1960s, Demetre obtained permits and filled his waterfront lot with dirt, a practice which was later prohibited. In 1970, the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers ordered Demetre to stop filling the waterfront property, and litigation resulted. Eventually in 1975, a federal judge ruled that the fill dirt could stay but limited the use of the land to Demetre's stated intent of a marina. In 1990, Demetre sold the land to the City of Charleston for $500,000 to cover transactional and legal fees and donated the appraised value of the land ($3.6 million) on the condition that it be converted into a park with certain agreed upon amenities within ten years and that the park be dedicated to Demetre. When the ten-year deadline approached, the city installed a makeshift floating dock without a permit and also placed a marker dedicating the park to Demetre. Demetre claimed that the work did not satisfy the conditions of the deed, and he sued to have the property (then valued at $7.6 million) returned to him based on the reverter agreement in the deed. The lawsuit settled in 2007 in Demetre's favor with the city agreeing to a timetable for certain improvements including the construction of a 190-foot pier.
The park has a fishing pier, two large sandy waterfront beaches, marshes, a covered picnic area, a large nature preserve pond, fields of green grass and the beginnings of a hiking trail. The 190-foot fishing pier extending into the harbor opened in February 2009. The pier leads to a 20-by-20-foot pier head and 40-foot floating dock. Other projects include steps leading to the beach areas and an automatic gate that opens the parking area from 6 a.m.-8 p.m. daily. The park improvements were built with $450,000 approved by Charleston City Council for the only city administered waterfront park on James Island. In June 2016, the South Carolina Legislature passed a resolution thanking Milton Peter Demetre for the contributions that led to the establishment of the park.
The views from the park take in Patriots Point, the Battery, the Ravenel Bridge, Mount Pleasant, Sullivan's Island, and Fort Sumter. The park is visited by many thousands a year, making it one of the most popular public landmarks on Charleston Harbor. Former Charleston Mayor Joe Riley called it the "Crown Jewel" of Charleston's park system and current Charleston Mayor John Tecklenburg listed Melton P. Demetre Park as one of his favorite places in the Lowcountry in the Charleston Post And Courier's 'Charleston Choice Awards'.
- "Charleston, ex-landowner feud over waterfront site". Spartanburg Herald-Tribune. July 6, 2000. p. B2.
- Edward C. Fennell (Aug 13, 2009). "Jewel on the harbor". Charleston Post & Courier. p. A8. Retrieved Nov 26, 2012.
- "South Carolina Legislature Online - Bill Search by Bill Number". Scstatehouse.gov. 2016-08-19. Retrieved 2018-03-27.
- "What I love about the Lowcountry | Charleston Scene". postandcourier.com. Retrieved 2018-03-27.