Neighbors fear "there won't be a place for us" ahead of planned Charleston development

Neighbors fear "there won't be a place for us" ahead of planned Charleston development

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - It's known as the Holy City.

Lining the streets of Charleston, often named one of the top tourist locations in the country, are churches across many denominations, many of which date back to more than 100 years old.

"We just feel like we're a part of this community and we'd like to continue to be a part of this community," said Rev. William Swinton of Ebenezer AME Church on Nassau Street.

With word of new development plans, like the Horizon Project, a multi-use plan to add approximately 200 apartments, shops and restaurants on Lockwood Boulevard, Swinton is among longtime residents who welcome the good, but fear the worst of the city's rapid changes.

"We all fear being displaced," he said.

"We have that hidden fear there won't be a place for us in the community we've lived in, worked in."

Among concerns for Swinton, and others at neighboring church Emanuel A.M.E. on Calhoun Street, is also the lack of parking throughout the city.

For Liz Alston, a longtime member of nearby church Emanuel A.M.E. on Calhoun Street, she says affordable housing is among her top concerns, amidst new development projects and growing interest in the city.

In the NoMo area of town, along North Morrison Drive, are even more plans for commercial development, which includes new tech companies, restaurants, and a 430 apartment high rise.

"When more people come in, prices rise," Alston said.

"A lot of our young people can't afford to live in the most livable city in America."

Thursday, city leaders invited residents like Alston and Swinton to voice their concerns as part of a public forum.

Charleston city planner Tim Keane and council member William Gregorie were among those who addressed the crowd of just over 100 people, as many voiced their concerns inside the International Longshoreman's Association on North Morrison Drive.

"I look at the minority impact and I feel that it's greater than the entire area of Charleston," Alston said.

Swinton added, "we need to know are we going to work together."

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