West Ashley Revitalization Commission provides update on future of Sumar Street

Commission tells public when to expect next update on the empty lot
Members of the West Ashley Revitalization Committee were given an update on Wednesday regarding the highly-debated old Piggly Wiggly lot.
Published: Sep. 13, 2023 at 10:59 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 13, 2023 at 11:21 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Members of the West Ashley Revitalization Committee were given an update on Wednesday regarding the highly-debated old Piggly Wiggly lot on Sumar Street.

It has been years of back-and-forth debate and trying to bring development to the empty Sumar Street lot.

Over the summer, the plan was that the citizens of West Ashley would vote on three different options to bring to the lot.

READ MORE: After 4-hour meeting, decisions delayed on 2 hot-button Charleston issues

The first option took home the crown as it garnered over 72% of the overall votes from the community. This option would bring an underground parking with room to add businesses, outdoor areas and a civil building for meetings like tonight’s West Ashley Revitalization Commission.

The West Ashley Revitalization Committee has had to hold its meetings at several different locations due to the lack of infrastructure in West Ashley.

“Where we are tonight is a perfect example of why I want to see Sumar Street developed,” said Commissioner of the West Ashley Revitalization Commission, Kenneth Marolda. “We are at the West Ashley Revitalization Commission but we are held at the Citadel Mall tonight. This commission moves from place to place because it doesn’t have a permanent home. There’s no consistent forum for this commission to meet in West Ashley.”

Wednesday’s meeting was less to bring an update on the actual empty lot, but more so to let the public know of what’s to come next week.

On Sep. 21, the Sumar St. discussion will head to the Community Development Committee where the new option four is expected to be discussed.

While the city council has asked for this option to include the price tag of including a civic center and green space, the details of this option is not yet known, and Marolda has his worries.

“Option four is meant to be a compromise. Anytime there’s a compromise there’s a back and forth with debate. So we’ll have to see what happens with it, said Marolda.

So many of those that live here are ready for this project to finally break ground.

“At a certain point it gets down to trying to do something,” said Member of West Ashley Connects, James Ward. I think we need to at least break out of phase 1. {And} out of it as soon as we can, because people get impatient with bureaucracies and time and we do need to show progress. We also need that conversation so we build an authentic way that’s meaningful for everybody as much as we possibly can.”

Anybody that is interested in what happens next can attend the next Community Development Committee meeting on Sept. 21.