Building a community takes more than just building buildings. Before we put a shovel in the ground at WestEdge and throughout each step of our development process, we have considered and listened to the voices who have shaped the area’s past, while including those who yearn to have a say in its future.
To live up to our responsibility to improve everyone’s quality of life, we focus our efforts into a number of key areas to ensure our neighborhood is inclusive, while ultimately working together to build an even better piece of the peninsula.
Here are just a few examples of how we are doing it:
EXPANDING ACCESS & CLOSING THE GROCERY GAP
- Prior to WestEdge, the west side of the peninsula was a food desert. Publix Super Market increases access to healthy and affordable food options for all residents of the west side of the Peninsula, especially lower income, and elderly residents.
- Improving safe routes to schools for students of Burke High School and Charleston Development Academy.
- Generating significant new funding for future redesign of Hagood Avenue and a proposed extension with the Medical District Connector.
- Eliminating tidal sunny day flooding and reducing instances of stormwater flooding with $15 Million invested in new drainage solutions and enhanced stormwater storage capacity.
- Connecting existing Gadsden Green and Ashton Street drainage systems to the Spring Fishburne Deep Tunnel System to reduce neighborhood flooding.
- Restoring reliable emergency response and evacuation routes.
- Developing WestEdge to ensure there is ZERO displacement of area’s existing residents.
- Increasing Charleston’s affordable housing: WestEdge projects have already contributed $3.0 Million to affordable housing; full build-out could add over $7.0 Million and/or create even more workforce housing units.
- Increasing housing opportunities close to employment centers like the Medical District and our growing Life Science district.
- Traffic improvements already in place improve Lockwood Blvd. and President St.
- Proposed Medical District Connector will create safe pedestrian, bicycle and transit connections to the Medical District.
- Creating new workplaces with direct access to transit & housing significantly reduces traffic impacts.
- Actively serving the Burke High School Improvement Council since 2015, and working to establish internship and outreach programs for Burke students to experience life science employment opportunities.
- Sponsoring summer youth enhancement programs at the Gadsden Green Homes.
Ongoing efforts to address the flooding will also eliminate contamination issues in the area and bring perpetual benefits to the immediate neighborhood and all of the west side of the peninsula, including:
- Stopping ongoing health risks from surface exposure to contamination from landfill materials and hazardous leachate.
- Eliminating tidal and stormwater flooding to stop transmitting contaminants into the neighborhood, protecting Gadsden Green Homes, Charleston Development Academy and Harmon Field.
- SC-DHEC Voluntary Cleanup Program ensures safety for the public and reduces ongoing liability/exposure of the City and MUSCF.
- Working with the City of Charleston Minority Business Enterprise office to advance outreach and inclusiveness in the contracting processes for contractors and subcontractors working in WestEdge.
- Increasing property tax revenues, business license revenues and sales tax revenues to help fund long-term investments in public services and schools.
- TIF District dedicates incremental property tax revenues into public investments in infrastructure, drainage, and other public amenities.
- WestEdge houses Studio 22 and the City-funded Flagship small business incubator for start-up companies, especially in the technology and life science sectors.
- Creating state-of-the-art lab space helps grow life science businesses who may have otherwise left Charleston.
- Increases economic development and job creation in all sectors: as an example Vikor Scientific has created over 100 new life science jobs in WestEdge since March 2020.
- WestEdge has attracted over a dozen small businesses, generating new jobs and promoting local prosperity.
As we continue to grow WestEdge, our work to support the advancement of the Charleston community will accelerate, improving the quality of life for all of our citizens. We are always open to suggestions, reflections, criticisms and praise, and would love to hear from you. Feel free to email us at [email protected] to share your thoughts. To learn more about WestEdge, visit http://www.westedgecharleston.com/ or follow the development’s progress on Twitter @westedgechs, Facebook @westedgecharleston, and Instagram @westedgechs.