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Charleston native

Revitalization Plan for the Eastside

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Is this really what that area needs? Additional housing for more neighborhoods? I'm not so sure about that...I think that would be a great area for some mid-rises with apartments, condos, and offices, but again, Charleston leaders are OBSESSED with neighborhoods!

Revitalization plan stresses housing, nearby shops

BY DAVID SLADE AND ROBERT BEHRE

Of The Post and Courier Staff

When the old Cooper River bridges are demolished, Charleston will gain more than 10 square blocks of cleared downtown land where city planners envision hundreds of new homes with nearby shopping. Some of the homes could overlook a block-long pond modeled after Colonial Lake, with a bicycle path leading from the base of the new Cooper River bridge west to King Street. Others could be apartments above businesses, with Cooper River views.

There could be 350 new homes for people of all income levels, and a variety of stores in which to work and shop.

The latest and most complete plan for redeveloping the footprint the bridges will leave in the East Side was laid out Thursday by Mayor Joe Riley and Michael Maher, director of the Charleston Civic Design Center, who presented it to community leaders involved in the years-long planning process.

The plan hasn't been approved by City Council or funded, and it's years from fruition, according to Riley.

"This is a several-year prospect, to be sure," he said.

Demolition of the old Cooper River bridges is expected to begin this year, within 180 days of the opening of the new bridge in May or June, but redevelopment work could not begin until the demolition work on the peninsula is completed.

The city and the state Department of Transportation have been negotiating a deal in which the city would get the land, and the state would reconnect several city streets divided by the bridge approaches.

The city sees a chance to "re-knit" a troubled neighborhood and fill the gap left by the bridges with housing and economic opportunities.That's what residents wanted, rather than using the land for large parks and recreation areas, according to Maher and the Rev. Alma Dungee of the Greater Charleston Empowerment Corp.

"Economic development and affordable housing were two of the key things," Dungee said. "I think it's a beautiful vision for the East Side."

The development of new housing is focused on the area from Meeting Street to Morrison Drive, between Cooper and Lee streets. The plan calls for adding a street between Cooper and Lee, which the city tentatively has dubbed Grace Street, after the bridge that now occupies the space.

The area's streets would be lined with new housing: apartments, row homes, single homes and duplexes.

"We want to make sure the scale and grain of the redevelopment in the new area meshes with the existing neighborhood," Maher said.

Latonya Memminger, president of the East Side Community Development Corp., which serves as the neighborhood association, said she still has lots of questions about the concept.

"It seems like a lot of houses, and we're a bit concerned about parking," she said. "We want more housing, and we like the idea of more diversity, but we also want to be able to stay in the community."

Gentrification has been a large concern in the East Side, where many residents have limited incomes and fear that rising property values would mean higher property taxes that could force them to move.

Riley said the city is committed to developing housing that will be suitable for people of all incomes, and redeveloping the large area will probably require partnerships with numerous nonprofit, for-profit and community partners. He said federal funding, a tax increment financing district and other financing options will be considered.

The plan is intended to strengthen the surrounding neighborhood, which is sprinkled liberally with low-income housing projects and vacant houses.

Robert Clement III, a developer known for large projects whose office is two blocks from the targeted area, said the bridge footprint is a tremendous opportunity for the city.

He said the neighborhood already has parks, public transportation and city services, and it's close to the heart of downtown.

"All that's missing is housing," Clement said. "Even without knowing what the development plans are, it seems like a great opportunity for the neighborhood."

Maher said there's still plenty of opportunity for residents of the area to offer comments on the plan.

"There's opportunity for revision and refinement right up until it's all done," he said.

REDEVELOPMENT AFOOT

Charleston's plan for redeveloping the footprint of the old Cooper River bridges in the East Side neighborhood:

-- "Re-knitting" the neighborhood that has long been divided by the bridge by reconnecting America, Hanover and Nassau streets and possibly extending Aiken and Drake streets.

-- Adding new park areas by extending Martin Park one block south, creating a new park near Meeting Street and Interstate 26, and a park near the pedestrian-bike access to the new Cooper River bridge.

-- Helping solve the neighborhood's flooding problem by creating a block-size rectangular pond.

-- Creating a new east-west street, tentatively called Grace Street after the oldest of the two bridges, to provide a new connection from Meeting Street to Morrison Drive, between Lee and Cooper streets.

-- Creating a new bike lane along Grace Street to link the Meeting Street area with the bike and pedestrian lane on the new bridge.

-- Reworking the busy intersections at Morrison Drive and Grace Street, and at Meeting Street and Interstate 26.

-- Revitalizing Meeting Street and Morrison Drive by allowing significant new retail and office developments, possibly with apartments above.

-- Creating a mix of housing styles, from apartment buildings to row houses to duplexes to single-family homes.

-- Creating a mix of housing types, from market rate housing to assorted subsidized and affordable housing.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

David Slade covers the city of Charleston. Contact him at 937-5552 or at [email protected]

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This is good news. I'm sure this will be a neat area to document. I hope they resotre the old street grid in some way.

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Oh wow, that soon it will be open! One thing ive always liked about SCDOT is that they are speedy with road construction. The 27/7 project agains to prove and measure SC's improvement and success to its highway infrastrcuture.

Thankfully i got all of my photos for the old bridges already :) Just need to load it up onto the site.

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Oh wow, that soon it will be open! One thing ive always liked about SCDOT is that they are speedy with road construction. The 27/7 project agains to prove and measure SC's improvement and success to its highway infrastrcuture.

Thankfully i got all of my photos for the old bridges already :) Just need to load it up onto the site.

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I dunno about that. They have done well with the Bridges in Charleston, but don't forget the perpetual widening of I-85 during the 90's...

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I dunno about that. They have done well with the Bridges in Charleston, but don't forget the perpetual widening of I-85 during the 90's...

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

I cant comment on I-85, i only drove through the upstate once in my lifetime :D

Ive been to Cola a couple times, i cant comment about it.

As far as the Pee Dee and the Low Country goes, ive been impressed with the 27/7 success.

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Oh wow, that soon it will be open! One thing ive always liked about SCDOT is that they are speedy with road construction. The 27/7 project agains to prove and measure SC's improvement and success to its highway infrastrcuture.

Thankfully i got all of my photos for the old bridges already :) Just need to load it up onto the site.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

I'm with Spartan on SCDOT's road construction. They've done amazingly well with the Cooper River bridge, but have you taken SC 72 to Greenwood off of I-26?! Unbelieveable...they are widening SC 72 from Clinton to Greenwood which is only about 15 miles. They have been working on this widening project for at least 6 years! :wacko:

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I'm with Spartan on SCDOT's road construction. They've done amazingly well with the Cooper River bridge, but have you taken SC 72 to Greenwood off of I-26?! Unbelieveable...they are widening SC 72 from Clinton to Greenwood which is only about 15 miles. They have been working on this widening project for at least 6 years!  :wacko:

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I take that road several times a year. The progress is seemingly slow, but if you consider what they have to do, it makes sense. That is an extremely hily stretch of road, and there are several creeks that need bridges.

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I take that road several times a year. The progress is seemingly slow, but if you consider what they have to do, it makes sense. That is an extremely hily stretch of road, and there are several creeks that need bridges.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Granted, but when California has mudslides that completely wipeout major highways, they are still able to rebuild the road in less than a year! I think the contractor is the problem...the state needs to find somebody else to finish the road quickly.

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I drove that road this weekend. The first phase of the project is nearly complete. I'd give it 2 months, max. Good points though. Maybe CA puts less effort into their roads, since they know they will just be wiped out by another mudslide ;)

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Click on the article link below, and you will read about a total idiot that is a city councilman for the city of Charleston. The ever-intelligent Kwadjo Campbell has filed a civil rights complaint over a city-approved plan to offset the negative impacts of building the new Cooper River Bridge. He says that the redevelopment of land between Meeting and East Bay streets where the old Cooper River bridges stand, will only hasten gentrification of the East Side neighborhood.

This shows the unbelievable idiocy of this man who does not have any foresight and wants to stall anything that redevelops and improves the East Side of DT. According to Mayor Riley, Campbell was a member of the planning committee, but he did not even attend one meeting! He doesn

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Oh, fantastic! Now, not only do we have one moron who is opposed to the plan, but now we have the good ol' state senator Robert Ford opposing the plan as well. Looks like I will add him to the Idiot List for incompetent politicians! The article came in P & C today, with the link below, and shows that Mr. Ford opposes this plan because it does not provide low to moderate income housing. That is a total farce! The redevelopment plan includes housing for all income levels. This plan will start gentrification? Well, if it cleans the area of drug dealers, loiterers, and thieves, I say...let the gentrification begin!

I personally think that Campbell and Ford would prefer the status quo of the East Side, because they want to maintain their control and power in their respective offices. They know that if the East Side does better economically and different ethnic groups with different income levels move in, they will be eventually voted out of office.

Senator objects to bridge plan

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That's exactly right CN, I read this article earlier this morning and couldn't believe it. This is about maintaining status quo, these guys do not want to lose political influence that could be brought on by diversification of this part of Charleston. How they can sit there and complain about these areas being neglected for so long and now we see that the area is going to get a face lift and all of a sudden it's "gentrification." These areas require that income levels of the inhabitants be diversified, you can't have just low income housing. It is not good for the city and it sure as heck isn't good for the residents of these areas. IMO

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Thats the problem. To YOU its idiotic because the community that will be once again displaced means nothing to you. But for the descendants of the people that BUILT historic Charleston it means everything. Theres no such thing as mixed income in Downtown Charleston. Every single time so-called "mixed income" has been promised by the city of Charleston it has been a total slap in the face of the Black community. Shoreview Apartments which is now called Longborough, the Cannonborough neighborhood that I happen to live in, and many others I dont feel like listing. Somebody needed to stand up and oppose the planning. Even though its most likely an effort in futility. Theres a total lack of respect when it comes to so-called low income housing in Downtown Charleston. These are the same people that work 98% of the service jobs downtown to accomodate the tourism that pays the city, yet these same people cant even find decent housing anywhere in the city. Of course it means nothing to you. You could care less. But to those of us that know the history of what has repeatedly taken place, its about time someone made a stand. We need more people to put a foot down and demand much better treatment and respect.

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Thats the problem. To YOU its idiotic because the community that will be once again displaced means nothing to you. But for the descendants of the people that BUILT historic Charleston it means everything. Theres no such thing as mixed income in Downtown Charleston. Every single time so-called "mixed income" has been promised by the city of Charleston it has been a total slap in the face of the Black community. Shoreview Apartments which is now called Longborough, the  Cannonborough neighborhood that I happen to live in, and many others I dont feel like listing. Somebody needed to stand up and oppose the planning. Even though its most likely an effort in futility. Theres a total lack of respect when it comes to so-called low income housing in Downtown Charleston. These are the same people that work 98% of the service jobs downtown to accomodate the tourism that pays the city, yet these same people cant even find decent housing anywhere in the city. Of course it means nothing to you. You could care less. But to those of us that know the history of what has repeatedly taken place, its about time someone made a stand. We need more people to put a foot down and demand much better treatment and respect.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Excuse me, not to sound rude, but how do you know what I care about? What I do care about is having diverse, vibrant, low-crime communities throughout the city of Charleston, including the East Side. The problem with the residents of East Side is that they have let their community completely go downhill into the realm of crime and drugs. I guarantee that there are residents who want to see improvement of their area, but their voice is being snuffed out by the control freaks of Campbell and Ford. They know that the ethnicity and income-level of the area will change, and that will affect their power and longevity in political office.

I will grant you that some of the residents have had to move due to increases in land value. Some of these people probably do work in the service related jobs in tourism. However, the majority of the service jobs are taken by college students and others who live not just DT, but West Ashley and Mt. Pleasant. Keeping the status quo of low-income housing in the area will NOT improve the neighborhood. If you truly want diversity, you must accomodate different levels of income in building new housing. This will reduce crime and improve the quality of the area.

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I actually read the article that CN is referring to in which Councilman Campbell expressed his displeasure with the impending gentrification of the area between Meeting and East Bay streets. As a non-Charlestonian, at the least, I can say that that particular area DOES need to be redeveloped. It doesn't give a good impression of the city when coming off I-26. However, the basis of the councilman's reasoning seems to be what the city has done in the past in similar situations. The crux of the matter is contained in this part of the article:

Campbell said there needs to be a written promise of low-income housing, because previous pledges to build affordable housing turned out to mean housing that people with low incomes can't afford.

"I feel we've been burned before," he said. "We believe the (bridge) project is good for the state of South Carolina but we want our rights under the law protected."

So for all you Charlestonians out there, how accurate do you believe the councilman's statement is?

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What happend there was miscommunication, affordable housing is totally relative to the person saying it. I believe a written gurantee of low-income housing mixed in would be a good thing. One of the ways to get low-income housing is with the help of federal grants which isnt an easy thing to do.

Speaking of low-income housing:

Charleston, Daniel Island low- to middle-income housing project gets approval

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Excuse me, not to sound rude, but how do you know what I care about? What I do care about is having diverse, vibrant, low-crime communities throughout the city of Charleston, including the East Side. The problem with the residents of East Side is that they have let their community completely go downhill into the realm of crime and drugs. I guarantee that there are residents who want to see improvement of their area, but their voice is being snuffed out by the control freaks of Campbell and Ford. They know that the ethnicity and income-level of the area will change, and that will affect their power and longevity in political office.

I will grant you that some of the residents have had to move due to increases in land value. Some of these people probably do work in the service related jobs in tourism. However, the majority of the service jobs are taken by college students and others who live not just DT, but West Ashley and Mt. Pleasant. Keeping the status quo of low-income housing in the area will NOT improve the neighborhood. If you truly want diversity, you must accomodate different levels of income in building new housing. This will reduce crime and improve the quality of the area.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

LOL @ "some". No see thats just the thing my son. Its never....."some". Its always more in the neighborhood of........"all".

The "residents" of the Eastside havent "let" their community completely go downhill into the realm of crime and drugs......as if they just sat back and watched their community go down and did absolutely nothing. There are much stronger economic and social factors that shaped the huge difference in the appearance of certain Charleston neighborhoods as opposed to others like the Eastside. Most of the Eastside residents, are hardworking, regular, everyday people that have nothing to do with crime and drugs. It just so happens that ALLLLL before, nobody in the administration of Charleston really cared to give any attention to neighborhoods like the Eastside. Now all of a sudden, because of this influx of tourism, and white interest in the city again, NOW all of a sudden they want to "see a better Eastside". A "more diverse community". They dont want to see a more diverse community. Every other single example of this "plan" has been a complete wipeout of almost every trace of the areas previous residents. And the drug dealers and criminals make up maybe 5% of this population. And even with that, for the most part, you're talking about petty nickel and dime kids that you see standing on the corner. While I know for a fact, that the more wealthy college kids that are replacing these residents have more potent, lethal drugs, and not only that have much more of it.

So for you to be like, "Well, if it gets rid of all the theives and drug dealers on every block I think theres no problem with that", is ridiculous. If the government of Charleston is interested in creating a drug-free Eastside, or Charleston, and stop having so much crime infested in certain neighborhoods, there are much better ways of creating this change. Displacing completely innocent, hardworking residents, and shipping them off right up the road to even worse North Charleston low-income communities is not the way to do this, yet it is exactly whats happening. Theres no "mixed-income" at ALL. If you know different, name me one example. I know you cant. But I can show you EVERY example of this "diverse neighborhood" crap they pitch to the public, that has turned into....."MOVE ALL THE POOR BLACKS TO OTHER POOR BLACK NEIGHBORHOODS"........"WE LIKE DOWNTOWN AGAIN"......."YALL HAVE TO GO SOMEWHERE ELSE."

"SORRY!!"....."but GOODBYE!!" :thumbsup:

Charleston public schools have consistently been in the Top 3 lowest in the nation year after year. Burke High School, St. Johns, had to literally FIGHT, BEG, and BORROW to get money for building new schools. Each which were two of the most rundown in the city. While places like Wando however, got a brand new school.... everything brand new with no problem, BEFORE other places that were in much more need of improvement. Ansonborough projects, which housed some of the most successful Black lawyers, doctors, and businessmen of Charleston during their childhoods, was demolished because they claimed "the soil and water was contaminated." Then they turn around and build an AQUARIUM of all things on the exact same site. Yet they cant name one person that lived in the borough that had any type of soil or water contamination, interestingly enough.

Recently they completely eradicated park football in the city, which has been an integral part of the community for decades. And more importantly assisted in creating successes out of many charleston children that wouldve most likely not had the opportunities the community recreation created.

You ask yourself, why would they do something like that?!? You figure that one out yourself. It makes absolutely no sense at all for them to take away such an effective program in the black communities of Charleston, unless..........take a wild guess.

Meeting Street Piggly Wiggly. ALLLLLLLL those years, when the surrounding neighborhoods were completely Black, they had that same, dirty, run-down, stink, rat-infested, poor excuse for a grocery store. Now all of a sudden they want to build a new one. I wonder why..........That couldve been of great use 20 years ago.

I can keep coming with detailed, concrete, no plainer than that, examples all day. Its so obvious its disgusting. But then again, after all, this is CHARLESTON. And its happening all over the country. New Orleans, Atlanta, Bed-Stuy Brooklyn, Harlem, etc. We all know the history of this city compared to the others. Right? Mississippi cant even hold a stick to the longstanding history of Charleston. So it comes as no surprise to witness whats happening now. Its just more sad than anything.

With that being said, I wish Kwadjo all the best of luck. I just think he really messes himself up by getting in trouble for stupid things. When he knows the position he's in, and who hes representing. But I'll DEFINITELY support him before I cosign ANYTHING proposed, done, or brought up by the opposition.

PS: Maybe I shouldve been more specific. Youre living in a fantasy world if you think college students and West Ashley and Mount Pleasant residents make up the housekeeper, janitorial, and maid jobs downtown. I live here. I know what Im talking about. They DEPEND on that same class of Black people to never break that cycle of second-class work. These jobs are done by Black mothers and daddies from downtown charleston. You must be referring to some other service jobs.

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I have an answer, but I'm just a tad busy with buying a house and getting married this Saturday. I will respond to this later. No need to be rude.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Excuses, excuses :)

Seriously though, congrats and good luck with all of that B)

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It is unfortunate when a group of people are displaced because of the rising costs of living in the area. However, how do you keep them in the area, when economic factors are pushing them out? Obviously if the demand for the property is there, then the prices will go up. Should we do something to keep them artificially low?

I really do not see how that makes good sense. Keeping property values low, so a small group of people can afford them, reeks of socialism. While well intentioned, I am sure, it affects an even larger group of people negatively, by limiting the areas into which they can move.

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You need low/med-income public housing where people making a certain amount less than the average income for the area can still live in the area. Something which is especially needed on the Charleston peninsula.

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