Group releases concepts, seeking community input for future urban park

Published: Feb. 12, 2020 at 8:02 PM EST
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - A nearly decade-long project to transform a former railway into an urban park is moving forward as designers look for public input for the future of the space.

This week, the non-profit, Friends of the Lowcountry Lowline released a new conceptual study outlining many options for a nearly 1.7 mile-long network of parks and greenway stretching underneath I-26 on the peninsula.

Some of the concepts include park areas designed to capture storm water, as well as pedestrian and bike paths to serve as a transportation corridor.

Tom Bradford, a co-founder of the organization, said the group’s goal for the project this year is to hold multiple community meetings and use public suggestions to shape the project’s final design.

“We’ve listed the opportunities so we can go out into the neighborhoods and tell people, ‘Here’s what can happen,’” Bradford said. “Specifically, what would you like to see?”

The project is nearly a decade in the making.

Friends of the Lowcountry Lowline started in 2012, but it wasn’t until 2018 when the City of Charleston and the non-profit split a $5.1 million land purchase from the Norfolk Southern Railway cooperation.

Councilmember Harry Griffin was at the city’s recreation committee meeting on Tuesday, where the new conceptual plan was presented. He said he thinks the park could revitalize parts of central Charleston.

"This is unlike any other spot in our city," Griffin said. "This could be a very walkable, bikeable area that has components of public transportation. So, it's definitely something that's on our radar."

Bradford said the price and funding structure of the project is still unknown, it's something Griffin want's to make sure can be ironed out before looking to any city funding.

"Coming up with a plan that has a good private, public partnership is always the best way to make a project successful," Griffin said.

Bradford said the exact dates for community meetings will be released in the next few weeks. Right now, people can view the plan and submit their ideas on the website.

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