CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) – Charleston City Council on Tuesday will consider whether to approve $250,000 to help cover the costs of getting the first phase of the Lowcountry Lowline project off the ground.
The money would be used for surveys, environmental reports and other aspects of work on the Lowline Park, which is proposed for a piece of vacant land behind several commercial buildings on King Street and Interstate 26. It would also help the Friends of the Lowcountry Lowline organization hire more staff members, according to Megan Mills who is the executive assistant to the group’s board.
“This unused space can be used for stormwater mitigation so helping when it really downpours, it can be used for storing water. It also can be huge for bike(s) and pedestrians,” she said.
On Monday afternoon, the city’s real estate committee gave its thumbs up to the request.
“The sooner we can get the Lowline moving in a serious, determined, on-the-ground way, the more investment we’re going to see in the TIF district, the more money we’re going to have to incorporate into our stormwater and affordable housing and other important initiatives,” city councilmember Ross Appel said during the committee’s meeting. “This is the engine, this is the catalyst for that whole TIF and it’s time that we get it rolling.”
Friends of the Lowcountry Lowline acquired 1.7 miles of former rail corridor in 2017 and hopes to begin construction on the first phase this year. Work could take between one and two years on the initial phase – Lowland Park – at a cost of more than $9 million.
The park will serve as a gathering place for a number of community events and other uses.
“We do see things like farmers markets in the future, movie nights, what an interesting way to have outdoor dining, having food trucks,” Mills said, adding the COVID-19 pandemic has shown the importance of outdoor spaces.
Mills hopes getting work underway will serve as a catalyst for other parts of the project.
“We hope that even the full Lowline project – it’s a big project and we’re looking at it in phases – but we’re hoping one we get started, if you build it they will come,” she said.
For more information about the project click here.