The oldest of the nine victims of the June 17, 2015 Emanuel AME Church shooting will be remembered with a garden in the neighborhood where she lived and died.
The Susie Jackson Freedom Memorial Garden will be built on a tiny tract next to the Charleston County Public Library at 75 Calhoun St.
The quarter-acre site faces Alexander Street and has access to Calhoun Street, also known as Mother Emanuel Way.
Charleston County Council voted Tuesday to give the land to the city. Jackson’s family will finance the park.
Jackson, who was 87, sang in the choir, was a member of the Woman’s Missionary Society, attended Bible study and was a trustee of the church.
A mother, grandmother and great-grandmother, she lived on Alexander Street. She attended Buist Elementary School and Burke High School and worked as a beautician and home health care provider.
In other business Tuesday, a bid to buy six tracts totaling 48 acres on River Road on Johns Island with Greenbelt funds was defeated by a 5-4 vote. Council members Henry Darby, Anna Johnson, Brantley Moody, Teddie Pryor and Herb Sass voted against the proposal.
Later in the meeting, Sass brought the issue back up and changed his vote, but so did Chairman Vic Rawl changed his vote, so the issue still lost.
Earlier this month, the Finance Committee, which includes the entire council, supported giving the trust $900,000 for the land known as Three Friars, with Pryor casting the only dissenting vote.
Owner Jimmy Kerr was willing to sell the site, appraised at about $4 million, to Lowcountry Land Trust as a conservation easement.
Darby and Pryor have both mentioned the property is inaccessible to the public despite having 650 of frontage on River Road. Johnson, Moody and Sass worried about the possible impact of Interstate 526.
“It’s too important to this community,” Moody said of the highway. “And to put anything in the way that could possibly touch it is not going to have my support.”
The Mark Clark Expressway completion project could require new turn lanes on River Road, impacting the site, according to County Administrator Jennifer Miller.
It’s not known if I-526 will be completed. In an effort to resuscitate a decade-old agreement, the county recently submitted a new funding plan to the state Transportation Infrastructure Bank board to cover the project's $330 million shortfall.
Even if the site is in the way of the highway, the county can take it through eminent domain, officials have said.
“I’m sort of baffled,” Kerr, a real estate investor, said Wednesday. “I feel like I have not seen rational behavior from the council and I have not been treated fairly.”
He will now have to consider the land’s future, he said. Based on current zoning, the site could have 3.5 units per acre, or 168 homes.