Community and business leaders will gather at the Charleston Museum on King Street Wednesday to hear from the public about their concerns on the city’s new preservation plan. The Historic-Charleston Foundation is sponsoring the public forum, “A Delicate Balance,” to express three main plans to further develop Charleston.
Director of Preservation and Museums Winslow Hastie says explains the three areas of work: “The Calhoun Street East Cooper River Waterfront Plan that the city has just developed with the consultants. So, it’s a little bit of a T-shaped area there on the eastern edge of the peninsula there. The Union Pier piece is south of that on the water, owned by the port. And then, to the south of that, and then a little to the left, is the market area which, the sheds, which run along Market Street,” says Hastie.
These three plans, among others, will be discussed by leaders while hearing comments from the public. Topics will include transportation, parking, cruise ships, new developments, and traffic.
“It’s an incredibly important thoroughfare from a traffic and transportation standpoint. It’s already problematic at the peak hours at the commuter times, it could be pretty tricky. And, then of course East Bay is very tourist oriented and business oriented toward the south end where we have lots of restaurants, which is great, it’s very vibrant, but it’s busy, there’s lots of traffic and lots of pedestrians,” says Hastie.
Hastie says they expect to hear some concerns from people who attend the forum.
“One of the concerns is as all of this new development occurs along that Cooper River edge, how are we gonna manage the increased demand on our streets. The other piece of that, and this is the other kind of big issue that is of huge concern with a lot of downtown residents are the cruise ships because now we are not going to just be a port of call,” says Hastie.
In May, the Port of Charleston will start with five and seven-night voyages to the Caribbean. Hastie says many residents don’t understand the point. But, business and community leaders says the cruises will add to the overall economic development of the city and state.
The public forum at the Charleston Museum will take place on Wednesday at 7 p.m. Charleston Mayor Joe Riley and State Ports Authority President and CEO Jim Newsome will be two of the speakers.