Group holds discussion about gentrification concerns in Charleston

Updated: Jul. 17, 2019 at 1:09 AM EDT
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - A Charleston-based group is giving people concerned about gentrification a chance to have their voice heard.

“Charleston Promise Neighborhood” hosted a forum on the topic Tuesday night to give members of the community the chance to come together and talk about the effects of gentrification, specifically in the neck area of Charleston.

The neck is a part of town where Charleston and North Charleston connect near Meeting Street Road.

It’s also an area that has seen lots of change recently.

Merriam-Webster defines the term gentrification as the process of repairing and rebuilding homes and businesses in deteriorating areas that is accompanied by an influx of middle-class or affluent people that often results in the displacement of earlier, usually poorer residents.

The CEO of the group, Sherrie Snipes-Williams, says the purpose of the forum is to inform residents about how to identify the changes in their neighborhoods.

“It is designed to provide residents in and around the neck area with access to information and resources to better understand what’s happening in and around the community,” said Snipes-Williams.

People who live in areas at risk for gentrification feel that the upgrades and redevelopment of properties in the community drive up nearby property values to the point that longtime residents can no longer afford to stay there.

Anthony Grant has lived in Charleston all his life. He says he’s seen the changes that come with new development, negatively impact neighborhoods he has lived in.

“For me growing up in downtown Charleston on the peninsula and going to high school in North Charleston, you see this mass difference in the economic disparities," Grant said,

Attendees at the forum had a chance to hear community leaders speak about gentrification and connect with non-profit organizations as well as elected officials.

The issues that affect these neighborhoods are things like new development, flooding, and even climate change.

People at the event also heard about what some of these organizations are already doing to help combat the effects of gentrification in the neck area.

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