New downtown area coming to West Ashley; Public hearing planned

New downtown area coming to West Ashley, public hearing planned

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - 30,000 people are expected to move to West Ashley over the next 15 years, according to Charleston's city planner Tim Keane.

City leaders want community input on developing a new downtown in West Ashley.

An economic development study is being conducted on the area around the Citadel Mall.

A team of consultants are taking a look on how to bring businesses back to this area.

West Ashley resident Lisa Giuliani said, "I think that would be great, we need that here in West Ashley, everything seems to be dying for sure."

"To me it's like a deserted wasteland to be honest with you," said Johns Island resident Kyle Kemp.

West Ashley is actually the fastest growing area in the city of Charleston, but Kemp says the place is just flat out boring. He wants more culture.

"Art and just some substance to it, it's very spread out and it's not appealing," said Kemp.

The crew over at the Roly Poly sandwich shop depends on the mall to help attract customers.

"It's the anchor of this neighborhood," said store owner Dereck Patterson.

The restaurant is on Sam Rittenberg Boulvard within walking distance to the mall.

"If the mall isn't doing well, then our business suffers, said Patterson, What we need are more of the kind of shopping that you see in the north area and in Mount Pleasant."

He could be on to something.

"I'd like to see more high-end stores on this end, probably similar to what it's like out in Mount Pleasant," said Giuliani.

With growth comes traffic.

"That's always been a hot ticket issue," said Giuliani.

Over the next 15 years city leaders are expecting the population in West Ashley to grow to 120,000.

Giuliani said, "But definitely they need to take care of the traffic issues. It's especially bad during the school year. I'm looking forward to that happening but I don't how fast it can happen."

City planner Tim Keane says they're expecting the study on economic development to be done by the end of this year. He says after that, they'll begin almost immediately transforming the area around Citadel Mall.

City leaders, including Mayor Joe Riley want to hear feedback from you Tuesday, June 10th at 6pm.

The meeting will be held at Ashley River Creative Arts Elementary. ?