Ashleyville residents concerned about gentrification

Ashleyville residents concerned about gentrification
June 18 11:50 2017 Print This Article

Charleston developer Crescent Homes has purchased land along the Ashley River and plans to build 41 single-family homes in the $400,000 price range there. Many residents in the low-income and predominantly African-American neighborhood are concerned about the impact the project will have on their property tax bills and fear being displaced.

Residents currently living on the Crescent property could be given a 90-day re-location notice by the developer at any time. Maryville-Ashleyville Neighborhood Association President Diane Hamilton said that the development will displace 27 families, most of whom live in a mobile home park, and that re-location arrangements have already been made by all but two of them.

State Representative Wendell Gilliard, who represents the Ashleyville community, has held several public meetings about the proposed development. He notes that many residents will be displaced by a process known as gentrification as property values and rental costs rise. Gentrification has displaced thousands of low-income residents on the Charleston peninsula in recent decades. Gilliard cites New York City, Pittsburgh, and New Orleans as cities which have successfully preserved low-income neighborhoods.

Maryville was the first subdivision in West Ashley.  Founded by freed slaves, many of whom worked in the phosphate mines along the Ashley River. Maryville was an incorporated town from 1886 to 1936 with its own police force and a school. The South Carolina General Assembly revoked the town’s charter when a bridge across the Ashley and the construction of St. Andrews Boulevard made West Ashley development more desirable.

Charleston Mayor John Tecklenburg, City Councilman James Lewis and others have scheduled a meeting to hear the concerns of Ashleyville residents Saturday, June 24 at 11 am at The Schoolhouse, 720 Magnolia Road.