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Summerville town leaders shifting focus to revitalize Oakbrook

SUMMERVILLE, SC (WCSC) -

New plans to redevelop a growing part of Summerville. The town is shifting their attention to Oakbrook, the area near Old Trolley, Ladson and Dorchester Roads.

It was once a booming community that some say now feels forgotten.

"It's getting a little run down a little dated," said Keith Kelly, Oakbrook resident.

When the Kelly's moved to Oakbrook 20 years ago, it looked quite different.

"There's a lot of things that have closed and it's looking really rough around here now," said Leslie Kelly. "Back then, It was more of an up and coming area."

"80s and beginning of 90s, it was very busy here and from that time it's been in a decline until the state we find it in now, with now with deserted stores," said Bob Jackson, Summerville Town Council Member.

Jackson has been pushing hard to redevelop this area including the empty shopping center at Dorchester and Old Trolley Road.

"All these places are really hard to get in and out of because of the amount of traffic on the main roads," said Jackson.

"It takes away so many of the walking customers," said Dottie Brace, Summerville residents.

Jackson is working with the mayor and his fellow town council members to come up with ideas and incentives for turn vacant properties into mixed use residential and commercial space.

"I'd like to make Oakbrook a destination," said Jackson.

There's a demand from residents who want more restaurants and retail stores, not to mention a more visually appealing "cityscape" for visitors.

"If we just improved some of these old building, I think it would be a big draw," said Kelly.

OakOakbrookadways also need some attention.

Jackson says they need to be more pedestrian friendly with medians, crosswalks and some plants. Town officials tell me they're already working with Department of Transportation to start putting medians in certain areas of Dorchester Road.

Revitalizing the shopping centers and intersections isn't the only thing they want to do here in Oakbrook. The Jessen Boat Landing, with access to the Ashley River, is an area town leaders want to work to preserve and fix up.

Jackson said some residents who live just miles away don't even know it exists. They're hoping to get the word out about the boat landing, so that more residents utilize it for recreational purposes like boating and kayaking.

"We're the only access, if you think about it, in Summerville to get to the Ashley River and we're not taking advantage of it," said Kelly.

A town official says they're getting a grant to start renovating the dock this summer.

"I live here, I love living here, it's been a great area, I just wish it was more attractive," said Kelly.

Town leaders believe it will take five to ten years to complete the redevelopment of Oakbrook.

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