Charleston to envision middle, upper peninsula’s future for next 20 years

Published: Jul. 19, 2022 at 10:33 PM EDT|Updated: Jul. 19, 2022 at 11:18 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - It’s no secret the City of Charleston is not the city it was 20 years ago, and city staff are in the process of planning out the peninsula’s future for the next two decades.

Charleston Director of Planning, Preservation and Sustainability Robert Summerfield said the new Peninsula Plan will focus mostly on the neck and upper peninsula.

“We’re trying to make it more people-oriented where it’s not been people-oriented in the past,” Summerfield said.

Summerfield said those areas are in the process of turning from a more industrial and commercial area to more mixed-use neighborhoods.

He also said the city wants to focus on development in the area with mass transit, namely the planned Lowcountry Rapid Transit bus route, and job centers in mind.

“The Downtown Plan is over 20 years old,” Summerfield said about the outgoing plan. “The peninsula has seen significant changes in those 20 years, and so we need to be more forward-thinking in our efforts.”

Summerfield said the city will take sea level rise and flooding into account as well as the community’s concerns of disinvestment into historically Black neighborhoods on the peninsula.

He adds with this new plan, the city will be going into it with an open mind.

“There’s a lot of opportunity in, particularly the middle and upper peninsula area, for change,” Summerfield said. “There’s a lot of opportunity for connecting our existing historic frameworks and networks to these areas where change is happening.”

The city has also allocated $350,000 to hire consultants to help the planning department draw up the peninsula plan.

Summerfield said the community’s input will be needed as they go ahead.

“We want to make sure as we’re moving forward and making recommendations on things that are happening that we’re looking holistically,” he said, “and so we have a better understanding of what does the community want the peninsula to look like 10, 20, 30 years from now.”

Summerfield said they expect a community meeting on the peninsula plan to be held as soon as this fall, and the plan itself will take anywhere between 12 to 18 months to complete.

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