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Rumbled pavers look old but meet green requirements

February 11, 2010

What folks in Bluffton, South Carolina,  have is a secret, a time capsule of a small Southern coastal village. The first homes were built in the early 1800s by plantation owners who wanted a summer’s respite from the heat on Lowcountry cotton and rice plantations.

Today, you can walk beneath a canopy of live oak trees in the one-square mile section of Old Town, on sidewalks adjoining streets that were laid out more than a century ago. Here, a stone’s throw from Hilton Head, the breezes blow inland off the May River, where some of the best oysters in the world are harvested and then prepared at the May River Grill.

When the time came to renovate the Old Town section, the goals were to come up with a design that was in keeping with the architecture, but at the same time to maintain the water quality in the river and protect the trees. Permeable pavement for the sidewalks – especially in areas surrounding the old-growth trees – was specified to keep tree roots watered and to help cut down on water pollution to the river. A Rumbled® StormPave paver from Pine Hall Brick was chosen.

Paige Camp, who serves on Bluffton’s Historic Preservation Commission, says that the pavers, which are roughed up on purpose during the manufacturing process, looked like they belonged in the town.

“Since the rest of the town is a little bit worn at the edges, we would be comfortable with it,” Camp said with a laugh. “We are becoming such an exclusive little spot, we have little cottages that in the past people thought were not worth much and they are now sacred. Hopefully, we are preserving the look and the feel of this quirky town.”

Karen Jarrett, the transportation project manager for the town, says that the $3 million project was intended to slow down the traffic, increase pedestrian access and improve drainage. Originally, Camp said, the town considered installing a concrete paver, but the historic commission felt strongly that the paver should be both permeable and made of clay.

“We just thought the clay was better and more in keeping with the look and feel and characteristics that we have,” said Camp.

Jarrett said that the townspeople are happy with how the project came out.

“It’s beautiful now that it is in,” said Jarrett. “It looks very nice and we haven’t had any complaints so far. And we have had quite a few compliments.”

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