CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) — One of Mayor Tecklenburg’s platforms when running for office was revitalizing West Ashley. That plan is starting off with a collaborative effort between the city of Charleston and Charleston County. The plan is starting along Savannah Highway between Dupont and Wappoo Roads, affectionately referred to as the “Du-Wap” area. Mayor Tecklenburg hopes to get rid of these empty shopping plazas and eyesore buildings to give the area some character.
He says, “The Du-Wap area should have it’s own personality, but in effect it should be like another Avondale.”
It starts with collaboration between the county and city because buildings in Du-Wap are split almost evenly between city and county jurisdiction.
Tecklenburg says, “The effort that the city and the county has gone through, and will be before County Council and City Council, puts us on the same page. So, the zoning is really in sync with each other, so you wouldn’t have a case where, a property owner wants to do one thing and the county doesn’t like it so he might call the city and say ‘well can I do it in the city if I annex it in the city’. No more of that because we have the same idea of what’s appropriate where.”
The ideas for transforming Du-Wap are laid out in a plan that was built with input from the community. It includes cosmetic changes like more trees and specifications about more attractive buildings, using Boxcar Betty’s restaurant as one example of the style the area is going for.
Will Copenhaver works in West Ashley and says, “The strip malls are part of, sort of, the 70’s architecture in my mind and the positive is there’s a lot of space that could turn into something better.”
The plan also emphasizes the need for more bike and pedestrian paths, by connecting the West Ashley Bikeway and Greenway.
Tecklenburg says, “We’re going to have this pedestrian/bike facility that will really reach a great portion of all of West Ashley that will be connected.”
But will all the growth, people are worried it could mean busier roads.
Copenhaver says, “I know certainly 17 and the traffic in West Ashley is a big issue right now.”
Cliff Bennett lives in West Ashley and says, “They have got to widen the roads and stuff.. I don’t know what else they can do, but they’ve got to try to do some things and not wait until it gets so bad.”
Mayor Tecklenburg acknowledges Highway 17 needs help when it comes to congestion. He says the first step is continuing the plan to extend I-526, and also passing the Half Cent Sales Tax referendum in Charleston County.
He says, “Specifically it includes the widening of Glenn McConnell Parkway, it includes an overpass at Main Road and Highway 17, it includes intersection improvements up and down Savannah Highway. Absolutely, yes, there are a lot of great projects that will come out of the sales tax referendum for West Ashley, but we’ve got to get the Mark Clark extended as well.”
He says other improvements to the area, like sidewalks and a new bike path would come from other areas already in the budge, like the existing half cent sales tax.