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New Downtown for Goose Creek

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Goose Creek plans to create a downtown

BY WARREN WISE Of The Post and Courier Staff

GOOSE CREEK--Ask folks at the post office in this city of 30,000 residents where downtown Goose Creek is and they furrow their brows.

"I don't think Goose Creek has a downtown," UPS worker John Fredrickson says.

The powers that be in the city want to change that.

Where a hodgepodge of strip malls and small businesses exist in a pie-shaped wedge between St. James Avenue and U.S. 52, city leaders envision a winding, brick-paved Main Street with quaint shops, outdoor cafes and tree-shaded walking paths.

"Other towns have downtowns, and we don't have one and we think it's time in the development of our community to develop a community center," Mayor Michael Heitzler said.

The city has no set timetable to build its downtown. Its plan is a paper concept, with a tree-lined Main Street, traffic circles and flowing fountains anchored by two expansive parks on either end. But residents should begin seeing the first signs of a central business district sprout when azaleas burst forth with their spring parade of color.

New traffic signals on mast arms with ornate lamps will begin popping up in March at key intersections on St. James and U.S. 52. Street signs at smaller intersections, like those in downtown Charleston that name a neighborhood such as Ansonborough, also will begin to appear soon, the mayor said. The city hopes to bury most of the power lines in the proposed mile-long downtown area and along major thoroughfares.

"The most important thing to say is that this is not a construction project," Heitzler said. "It's a conceptualized plan."

The 25-year mayor envisions the northern end of Main Street, off Central Avenue, to be the first leg of the project. Most of that property, privately owned and gashed by a drainage canal, is undeveloped. It would lead to the city's proposed 47-acre park, now a wooded area bounded by subdivisions.

Heitzler says he thinks that once business owners see a street being built with ornate lighting fixtures in place, they will want to locate there.

"We will get it started by priming the economic pump," Heitzler said. "Nobody will have to say you are downtown. You will just feel a consciousness."

South of Central Avenue, the plan gets a little trickier. The conceptualized Main Street plows through several businesses, including Creekside Center, a strip mall with several vacant stores.

Several businesses at Creekside have struggled for years, said Rick Buckner, chairman of the town's Economic Development Advisory Committee.

The mayor hopes a developer will see what the city has done on the north end, look at its plans for the rest of the proposed town center and buy up abandoned stores.

The mayor also hopes those businesses facing away from the proposed Main Street will reorient themselves with new entrances to take advantage of pedestrian and auto traffic along the new thoroughfare.

The southernmost end of the new downtown is what most people will see first. That's where about 40,000 cars a day stream into Goose Creek on U.S. 52 from North Charleston.

The city plans to erect a brick entrance sign there with a flowing fountain and bronze geese landing in the water. Behind it would be a park at the corner that would mean the end to several businesses, including a liquor store, loan shop and fast-food restaurants.

"We will probably have to buy them out or swap property with them," the mayor said.

Money for the project would come from the town's tax increment finance proceeds. Goose Creek gets about $800,000 a year from the fund, derived from increased tax revenues above a certain baseline within a defined area.

Heitzler stresses that the plan is conceptual and the city has no definite plans to dislodge anyone. More than anything, he says he hopes market forces will drive his vision into reality.

I edited this article from the Post & Courier:

http://www.charleston.net/stories/Default....ction=localnews

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Downtown Master Plan (PDF)

Thought I would add a link to the master plan they have drawn up for Goose Creek.

The mayor hopes a developer will see what the city has done on the north end, look at its plans for the rest of the proposed town center and buy up abandoned stores.

One thing I noticed the other day driving through there, the stores in those areas are not abandoned anymore. And the mast arm traffic signals are looking really good.

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Yup, it's shaping up good, I just want to see how the proposed main street idea holds up. It will cut through alot of establishments.

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The streets in this area of Goose Creek look really good. The mast arm traffic signals as well as utilities placed underground along with great light fixtures providing ample lighting is a good start. Goose Creek is a suburb, so I'm a little hesitant in saying it would be good for the city to have a DT. However, since it is quite a distance away from the county seat of Monck's Corner, I think it might be acceptable.

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I think every city needs a downtown, even suburbs.

But don't you want to make the central "gathering place" in the metro area of any city to be the DT of the primary city?

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But don't you want to make the central "gathering place" in the metro area of any city to be the DT of the primary city?

I don't think downtowns in suburbs would take away from the primary city's DT. For example, Charleston's DT remains the central gathering place, despite Summerville having a downtown. It will remain the central gathering place even after Goose Creek's DT is completed.

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I agree jr7777. I don't think that downtown Ft. Mill, Matthews, or Pineville detract in any way from uptown Charlotte. More people live in the primary city of the metropolitan area anyway, so it will naturally have more amenities and thus attract more people.

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I don't have a link to any articles but it seems Lowe's will be adding a store in the city of Goose Creek. They are interested in the location because of the rapid growth occurring in the area.

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