Is Charleston one of the nation's most endangered historical sites? The city's Preservation Society thinks so, because of cruise ships.
The society has asked the National Trust for Historic Preservation to name the city as one of its 11 most endangered sites -- an annual list usually released in the spring.
The request comes as city residents and preservationists are making a renewed push to urge the city and State Ports Authority to do more to regulate cruise ships --and to move the site of a new passenger terminal farther north on the waterfront.
"We should be working together as a city to improve and re-enforce the quality of life of all of our historic neighborhoods, and one wonders how cruise ships advance that effort," said the society's statement released Friday.
Earlier this week, the Historic Charleston Foundation announced plans to hold a May 9 forum on the redevelopment of Union Pier -- where the State Ports Authority hopes to build a new passenger terminal. It already has signed a $2.4 million design contract for the project, though some residents say the terminal ought to be built farther north, on the Columbus Street Terminal site.
Both port officials and Mayor Joe Riley have said moving the terminal to Columbus Street is not desirable or feasible. Last fall, the city came to an agreement that limits the number of cruise ships to no more than one at a time or an average of two per week.
Some have urged the city to put that in ordinance form, but ports officials say the city doesn't regulate maritime commerce.
It's unclear if Charleston will end up on the National Trust's annual list, which is designed to draw national attention to preservation battles.
Previous Charleston area sites on previous endangered lists have included the Ashley River Historic District and the Gullah/Geechee Coast.