Downtown community thankful for future flooding relief

File photo: Students walk to school through the flooded Crosstown parkway area.
File photo: Students walk to school through the flooded Crosstown parkway area.

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - The Westside neighborhood in Charleston gave thanks during a special service Monday night for a construction project that isn't expected to be finished until 2020.

A service of praise was held for people working together to make one Charleston community a better place to live.

"When this project is complete you will no longer have to walk through the water and get baptized to get you your sanctuary," said Rep. Chip Limehouse.

Last month, the State Infrastructure Bank awarded $88 million to the city to complete the Septima Clark drainage project, which is expected to fix flooding in the area. The project won't be completed until the year 2020, but the Westside neighborhood says there is no need to wait to say thanks.

"It's going change the lifestyle of the community 110 percent," said Arthur Lawrence, president of the Westside neighborhood.

Lawrence says for years he has watched children wade through water to get to school and seen the elderly become house bound because water keeps them in.

"We told all our elected officials 'if you can't support cleaning up this cross town, we're not going to support you when you run again,' " Lawrence said. "So, I think they finally got the message."

Lawrence says it was no small task to get lawmakers on the same team, but for this project it worked.

"This is a project, $88 million for this little community, that is a lot of money," Limehouse said. "That's a pile of money, but we did it all these people you see here working together and all you out there in the audience working together."

The project includes re-paving, landscaping medians and shoulders, adding sidewalks, new underground tunnels and a pump station to pump flood water back into the Ashley River.

The Crosstown project is expected to cost a total of more than $146 million to complete.

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