Honey Hill gets its road

Community leaders help Anna Johnson (center left), a Charleston County Council member, and Sandra Barbour, president of the Honey Hill Neighborhood Association, as they cut the ribbon during the dedication of the new road and sidewalk for the Honey Hill Community on James Island on Saturday.

Paul Zoeller

Try Google mapping Honey Hill Road on James Island and Google gets confused.

It’s not a new road. Its history and the community it’s named after date back to the 1870s. It’s just that, until this year, Honey Hill Road had never been paved before.

That officially changed on Saturday morning as neighborhood residents gathered with county and city officials to formally unveil the new half-mile two-lane stretch of paved road, sidewalk and botanical garden on James Island.

Sandra Barbour, the Honey Hill Neighborhood Association president, thanked God, the city of Charleston and the county for making the project a reality.

“There was a threat that the mail would no longer be able to come to the neighbors because of the road,” Barbour said. “There were problems with the fire department trucks coming through. We also had problems with the senior citizen bus. Whenever it would rain and the road would be muddy, we’d have to take the senior citizens and bring them up to the head of the road to the bus because they didn’t want to drive through and get stuck on the mud.”

Honey Hill, a historically black community, includes about 100 acres of land north of Fort Johnson Road between Dills Bluff Road and Seaside Lane. Honey Hill Road intersects with Fort Johnson Road at Washington Park. About 30 homes are located along the new paved road, Barbour said.

Until recently, it was just one of hundreds of dirt roads, formally called nonstandard community roads, across Charleston County.

Inez Brown Crouch, a commissioner on the James Island Public Service District Commission, said the completed project, paid for with the county’s transportation sales tax revenue, has been a long time coming.

“We’ve been waiting and waiting and waiting for this road,” she said. “This is history.”

Nearly everyone at the ribbon-cutting had two words for Charleston County Councilwoman Anna Johnson: Thank you.

Johnson is credited with spearheading the project and seeing it through to the end, although she admits she never thought the road would be paved in her lifetime.

“Who would have thought this would ever be?” Johnson asked Honey Hill residents at the ceremony. “You can see, this changes your whole outlook of the community. It changes your spirit. It energizes you. It makes you feel whole. You’re not left out anymore.”