If you go:
What: Public meeting on the West Ashley Economic Development Plan
When: 6 p.m. Tuesday
Where: Ashley River Creative Arts Elementary School, 1871 Wallace School Road
City leaders are working on a plan to heat up the business climate in some tired and dog-eared sections of West Ashley.
Fifteen years from now, 90,000 people will live in that part of the city, up from about 70,000 current residents, said Tim Keane, the city's planning director. "Our goal is that when we get to 90,000, it's an even better place to live."
Residents on Tuesday will have the opportunity to weigh in on the city's economic development strategy for West Ashley, Keane said. The city has hired consultant Permar to conduct a market analysis of the area, he said. It will use that to develop an economic development strategy, which should be done by the end of the year.
"In the 1960s and 1970s, everybody wanted to live in West Ashley. This was the spot," said Charleston City Councilman Aubrey Alexander. "We want that again."
The city's plan will focus first on the square-block area around Citadel Mall, which is bound by Sam Rittenberg Boulevard, Savage and Orleans roads and Interstate 526, Keane said.
"We want that to be the downtown of West Ashley." It will include shopping areas, hotels and restaurants, he said, and the city will work to improve the flow of traffic in the area.
Now that block contains only the financially struggling Citadel Mall. It would benefit from a greater variety of businesses, he said. "The monolithic scale of that block would be broken down."
The city also will look at ways to improve the flow of traffic on all of the main thoroughfares in West Ashley including Sam Rittenberg Boulevard, Savannah Highway and Ashley River Road. And it will explore how to best redevelop old, decaying shopping centers, Keane said.
Reach Diane Knich at 843-937-5491 or on Twitter at @dianeknich.
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