By Cindy Landrum  

MAY 31, 2012 10:43 a.m. Comments (1)

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Jill Cox didn’t want to see apartments built on the Cleveland Park Stables site on Woodland Way.

So the Greenville resident decided to buy the land and donate it to the city as an extension of Cleveland Park.

“It really was a spur-of-the-moment decision,” Cox said.

Cox, the widow of former Daniel Construction president Charles Cox, was at physical rehabilitation after knee replacement surgery when she read about neighborhood residents fighting a rezoning request that would have allowed construction of up to 40 high-end apartments on the property on Woodland Way across from the dog park.

“It was just the wrong place for that,” Cox said.

Cox will pay $875,000 for the land and the deal is expected to close by June 10. She will stipulate that no enclosed buildings can be built on the 2.5 acres.

“She is the neighborhood’s angel,” said Mercedes Bartow, a Cleveland Forest resident who led the fight against the apartment complex. “I am blown away by her generosity.”

Greenville attorney Carl Muller, who spoke against development of the stables property, said the gift would preserve some of Greenville’s natural beauty.

“They (apartments) don’t belong there,” he said. “It’s so easy to spoil something of natural beauty.”

Muller likened Cox’s gift to the Rockefellers donating the land where Acadia National Park and the Grand Tetons now stand, but on a local level.

“There’s a special star in heaven for Mrs. Cox, John Castile, the city manager who made it happen behind the scenes, and to the hundreds of citizens of Greenville who stood up and expressed their deep desire to have the land in the city’s park system,” he said.

Mayor Knox White called Cox’s donation “a stunning gift of philanthropy.”

He said he expects the land to be used mainly for green space.

The Swamp Rabbit Trail runs beside the property.

 

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