Parking concerns arise over potential location for future Dorchester Co. library in Summerville

Published: Aug. 9, 2022 at 7:41 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 10, 2022 at 12:00 AM EDT
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SUMMERVILLE, S.C. (WCSC) - Dorchester County has set aside over nine million dollars to build a new library branch in downtown Summerville, but neighbors are concerned over its possible location.

A two-story, 15,000-square-foot library could soon be built in front of the Summerville Family YMCA. It’s one of three planned libraries in the lower part of Dorchester County.

However, the location off Doty Avenue has drawn parking concerns from business owners and neighbors.

“I think that this is a good bad idea,” business owner Diane Frankenberger said, “and I think there’s gotta be another place for it where there’s just more parking. Parking’s the issue.”

County Administrator Jason Ward says he believes the library will serve a smaller radius than its current library on Trolley Road, which it will replace once complete.

“When you go from one facility, like the one on Trolley Road, to three facilities, you’re going to have a dispersion of the parking,” Ward said. “You’re not going to have everyone that’s going to the Trolley branch come to downtown .”

Frankenberger said the proposed site will hurt both the library and the YMCA.

She and neighbors say instead of building the facility there, the library should go across the railroad tracks onto the former site of the town’s public safety headquarters, which they say could provide ample space for parking.

However, the county disagrees, saying the YMCA site is the most walkable.

“While [the old public safety building] is a location that some have looked at for different purposes, we really feel the location that we have provides kind of the old four corners concept,” Ward said.

Neighbors said they’re not against having a library built downtown, but they want a place where people won’t have to stress out about where to park.

“I’d like to get peace in my heart, and I know other people would too, about where folks are going to park, and that those studies have been done,” Frankenberger said.

Joseph Debney, the Summerville Family YMCA’s CEO, released the following statement:

We, at the Summerville Family YMCA, are invested in this community. Our parking provides over 100 spaces to our members. We have and will continue to work with our local businesses, residents, and elected officials to address the need for parking in Summerville.

To that end, we have had many discussions regarding bike sharing and improved pedestrian and bike trails to encourage safety and greater access to our downtown and Oakbrook areas. We believe that creating this access improves equitability for all in our community.

We will continue to work with the county and town on projects that improve the quality of life for all Dorchester County residents through community partnerships, workforce development, removing barriers to transportation accessibility.

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