West Ashley planners report preliminary findings

May 10 20:45 2017 Print This Article

The West Ashley Revitalization Commission held its monthly meeting Wednesday at Center Court in the Citadel Mall with more than 150 residents in attendance. Planners from consulting firm Dover Kohl summarized the citizen concerns expressed during four planning sessions held at different sites in the region.

The more than 550 citizens who participated in the workshops were given a card asking them to provide a one-word description of West Ashley now and what they envision for West Ashley in the future. The leading descriptions for the current state of West Ashley were “congested”. “traffic” and “neglected”. Participants envision the future of West Ashley to be “connected”, “vibrant” and “beautiful”. A sense of optimism for the future of West Ashley has been prevalent throughout the process of developing a West Ashley Master Plan.

Among the objectives favored by the workshop participants are connecting neighborhoods with roads and pedestrian crossings, upgrading the stormwater drainage system, creating more office space and job opportunities in West Ashley and redeveloping existing shopping centers. Participants expressed concerns over the increased permitting of high-density development and the lack of infrastructure to accommodate the heavy traffic and long commute times. A survey shows that 84% of West Ashley residents work outside of the region.

Richard Davis, CEO of Charleston developer Trademark Properties, was in attendance. Trademark Properties is part of the management group which recently took ownership of Citadel Mall. Davis said his company pursued the property for more than seven years and has big plans for upgrading the West Ashley landmark, including creating an Events Center and adding retail space along the mall’s perimeter road. Citadel Mall businesses employ more than 900 people.

Dover Kohl will present a summary of the planning process with drawings showing what workshop participants and technical experts have proposed for the West Ashley Master Plan Saturday from 10 am to noon at Citadel Mall’s Center Court. The event will be streamed live by the West Ashley United Chat Facebook page, which had more than 300 viewers Wednesday evening. Concerned citizens may also post suggestions at https://www.planwestashley.com/engage on the mySidewalk feature.