Patriots Point plans road shift

If Patriots Point Road does get moved, the Cold War Submarine Memorial also would need to be relocated, according to officials at the Mount Pleasant tourist site.

Part of the massive plan to redevelop 36 prime acres at Patriots Point and transform the site into a nationally prominent tourist destination could involve shifting Patriots Point Road.

The Patriots Point Naval and Maritime Museum has not released details of a master plan for the site, but Executive Director Mac Burdette confirmed Thursday that the four-lane, divided road could move to free up more waterfront land for development.

The road, if shifted, would be closer to the College of Charleston baseball stadium and would involve relocating the Cold War Submarine Memorial near a bend in Patriots Point Road across from the parking lot entrance.

“You have valuable waterfront property and a road going through the middle of it,” Burdette said. “It just makes sense” to move it.

By moving the road, Patriots Point could pick up 3 or 4 acres to allow deeper lot development facing the harbor. The waterfront tourist attraction already has about 6 or 7 undeveloped acres on the marsh side of the road before the parking lot entrance, but it is narrow, Burdette said.

“It would be a challenge to put something there as it is,” he said.

The road is owned by the town of Mount Pleasant.

“We have gone to Town Council, and they are interested in doing it,” Burdette said.

Mount Pleasant Mayor Billy Swails, who sits on the Patriots Point board, supports the move.

“If the master plan doesn’t work, it still makes sense to move the road, because it creates more valuable property,” Swails said.

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He said the cost has been estimated at $750,000 to $1 million to relocate Patriots Point Road, and the town would bear the expense since it owns the right of way.

The move would not affect property that the College of Charleston leases from Patriots Point. Because discussions are preliminary, no decision has been made on a new site for the submarine memorial, Burdette said.

Patriots Point has been inching toward a master plan for the undeveloped acreage around its ticket office for months. It initially hoped to unveil those plans in December.

Letters still are going back and forth between interested parties, but Burdette said he hopes the board can have an agreement nailed down by August.

Patriots Point wants to develop the land, not only to create a must-see national tourist destination but also to reap income that would help pay for repairs to its aging fleet of naval vessels, including its centerpiece attraction, the World War II-era aircraft carrier Yorktown.