How much will West Ashley revitalization plan cost?

How much will West Ashley revitalization plan cost?
March 11 16:46 2018 Print This Article

Right before Charleston City Council unanimously voted to adopt the West Ashley Master Plan, Councilman William Dudley Gregorie asked, “How much will this plan cost?” Mayor John Tecklenburg laughed and said, “Millions and millions of dollars.” Now that the plan is in the implementation phase, that question still needs to be answered.

The West Ashley Revitalization Commission (WARC), a 19-member panel of elected officials and community leaders, meets Wednesday, March 14 at 5:30 pm at The Schoolhouse, 720 Magnolia Road, to kick off the master plan implementation process. Unlike the Church Creek Drainage Basin Study, which identified $44 Million in engineering upgrades to safeguard property owners within the basin, none of the West Ashley Master Plan implementation steps are priced out.

One of the most expensive pieces of the master plan will be the extensive array of bicycle and pedestrian paths called for in the transportation section.  City of Charleston voted to spend about $6 Million from its 2018 budget on the 1.5-mile “Lowline” bicycle path downtown.  It could cost hundreds of millions of dollars just to pay for the bicycle paths.

The drainage section of the plan calls for the creation of an “open space fund” to acquire park space and retrofit existing parks with retention ponds and absorbent plants.  It also calls for an ambitious tree-planting program to absorb stormwater runoff.  While these projects would have a beneficial impact on flood-prone areas of West Ashley, they will come with a high price tag.

Before the West Ashley Master Plan can be implemented, it is essential that residents and taxpayers know how much it will cost.  There will be a public comment period at the end of Wednesday’s WARC meeting.  Show up and join Councilman Gregorie in asking the question.