Don't write-off USC Beaufort's downtown housing efforts (update: USCB and Old Commons Neighborhood Association to meet)

Flickr user sunshines_creations

Update: The dorm is opening soon.

Updated July 12: We've heard word that a rep from USCB will meet with the Old Commons Neighborhood Association this Thursday to address any questions the group has regarding the university's housing plans.

The meeting will be held at 5:30 p.m. at Wesley Educational Building at Duke and West streets.

Here's to hoping there's a good dialogue and that any concerns are resolved.

Reported July 4: The Island Packet had a Monday story detailing the University of South Carolina Beaufort's plans to expand its housing offerings in downtown Beaufort.

In short, the university is looking to purchase a house next to its downtown campus, one just outside the Old Commons neighborhood and outfit it for housing for 16 students.

I want to point out with particular interest the section of the story where some residents already are complaining of student housing locating downtown, and the same goes for the reader comments at the bottom.

Let's not write this off before it begins.

For the better part of the past 10 years Beaufort has been worried USCB would pick up and leave from downtown altogether. That fear was heightened when word circulated that the school might change its name, giving up the Beaufort moniker.

But we then saw the university purchase the old chamber building on Carteret, and then we heard a push for arts scholarships and a dedicated arts program at the downtown campus.

We can't have it both ways, folks.

We can't complain when we feel USCB is abandoning us and then also complain when new investments are being made. The truth is if we want to breathe new life into the downtown campus we must increase programming, which in turn will increase interest. And we need to put these new, interested students somewhere. And as we're sure the new-urbanist sect would agree, where better than into the downtown district, where they can help support our local businesses?

Let's just wait this one out before we complain too much. Sixteen students living downtown does not all-night keggers make.

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