Greenbelt funds could support Church Creek drainage plan

Greenbelt funds could support Church Creek drainage plan
May 03 17:23 2018 Print This Article

The Charleston County Greenbelt Advisory Board learned Wednesday that there will be $15 Million available for greenspace projects during Fiscal Year 2019, which starts on July 1.  $10 Million is available from the 0.5% transportation sales tax approved by voters in 2004 and $5 Million is available from the 2016 0.5% transportation sales tax. Greenspace funds could support one of the drainage upgrades recommended in the 2017 Church Creek Drainage Basin Study report.

The drainage report called for undeveloped land north of the Village Green subdivision to be set aside to form the North Basin water storage area. It would retain stormwater runoff destined for Church Creek and drain it directly to the Ashley River. The project was priced out at $3.9 Million, about half of which would go to land purchase.  None of the $43 Million in recommended drainage upgrades in the report has been funded yet. Hundreds of homes in the West Ashley drainage basin area have been damaged by flooding since 2015.

Since the land in question is currently outside the Charleston city limits, a non-profit entity would have to apply for the greenspace grant for the North Basin. Conservation groups like the Lowcountry Land Trust leverage the greenspace grants with private sector donations. More than 200,000 acres in Charleston County (30% of the land mass) have already been protected by conservation easements.

The Greenbelt Fund received $222 Million in funding from the 2004 transportation sales tax (which has $30 Million remaining in the account), and all of the $200 Million from the the 2016 transportation sales tax is available for grants. The Greenbelt Advisory Board recently changed the funding distribution formula from 70% rural land purchases and 30% urban (Charleston, North Charleston and Mt. Pleasant) to a 50/50 mix. The cities have placed a priority on purchasing park space. The projects recommended by the advisory board must be approved by Charleston County Council.