A five-day community meeting aims to better the Charleston Neck (Update: Video)

The "Neck Area Master Plan Brochure."

Update September 27: Live 5 News came along for the first day of the five-day community design charrette and has a video from the tour that gives more depth to what's happening and what the hopes are.

Watch that video up top or on their site.

Feature in that video (but not discussed much) is Shipwatch Square at the corner of Rivers and McMillan Avenues. That location was purchased by the City of North Charleston as a portion of the revitalization efforts for the southern end of the city and will be demolished as part of the first steps in a master plan for Shipwatch Square, which encompasses a grocery store, bank, drug store, small retail establishments, and office space.

Don't forget that you can still get involved, the meetings run through September 30.

First reporting September 21: The Neck area — roughly between downtown Charleston's peninsula and and Park Circle in North Charleston — has had a rough go of it.

It was once dominated by industry that has long since declined, recently been freed of the smells of the county trash incinerator, and suffers from long envisioned yet stalled industrial-to-community redevelopment plans.

But a five-day community design charrette (aka meeting) is hoping to give a new, attainable vision for the area.

The charrette will run from September 26 to 30 and residents, employees, property and business owners, and neighborhood friends are invited to join at at Sterett Hall, 1530 7th Street and Hobson Avenue on the former Navy Base.

Press release details are below along with a daily agenda, and more can be learned at the online meeting info webpage.

A collaborative work session, the Partnership for Prosperity charrette gathers together professionals in urban design and transportation and puts them to work with the community. By the end of the week, they expect to have design concepts for key locations in the study area between the Charleston International Airport in North Charleston and US 17-Crosstown in Charleston. The public is encouraged to participate in the week’s multiple opportunities for interaction, review and comment.

Public sessions include:

  • Kick-Off Meeting from 6:00-8:00pm on September 26th

  • Public Pin-Up Session from 5:00-8:00pm on September 28th

  • Open House with a Closing Presentation from 5:00-8:00pm on September 30th.

“Public participation has been a key component in establishing the set of core community values and working vision that serve as the foundation for this project,” said Jeff Burns, planner with the Berkeley-Charleston-Dorchester Council of Governments (BCDCOG). “This is not the Council of Government’s plan for the community. It is the community’s plan for the community.”

Knitting together the area’s multiple plans toward a unified forward strategy is not the easiest of tasks for a 27 square mile area with two municipalities, many neighborhoods, a couple of large real estate developments, and several of the region’s major employers. The five day charrette includes both interactive public meetings and professional working design sessions to make certain the final product is a plan that embraces the vision expressed by participants at a previous community input forum on May 19th, 2011: a master plan that preserves and enhances the area’s natural systems, honors the community’s heritage, promotes quality growth, and improves neighborhood accessibility.

“The people of this area have come out for charrettes with Noisette, Magnolia, and most recently for the Lowcountry Alliance for Model Communities’ Community Mitigation Plan. They are working together with the area’s major employers, and attend meetings to push for improved environmental conditions. This is their chance to put the individual pieces into a broad scale vision for the region. We need their ideas and experience. I hope they will find the time to attend at least one, if not all, of the public sessions during the charrette week,” said Whit Blanton, project manager for the Renaissance Planning Group team hired by the BCDCOG to shape the plan.

For more information about the Charrette or the Master Plan, please visit the website at www.neckprosperity.org or contact Jeff Burns, BCDCOG Senior Planner, at 843-529-0400 or jeffb@bcdcog.com.