By Ashley McGee
What we love about calling North Charleston home.
As an emergency department nurse at Roper St. Francis, wife of a City of Charleston firefighter, and mom of two kids age two and under, Jennifer Malone was drawn to the family-friendly atmosphere of North Charleston.
“As the saying goes, it takes a village to raise children,” Malone said. “And by making our home in North Charleston, we have a wonderful village of family and friends nearby.”
Malone was raised in Summerville and attended Charleston Southern University. When it came time to decide where to purchase their first home, her husband advocated for North Charleston — the city where he has lived for 30 years.
“My family wasn’t currently living in the area at the time, so we decide to make our first home near my husband’s family, as well as our friends,” said Malone. “North Charleston is also an easy commute for both of us to get to work.”
When they’re not working the Malone family spends a much time outdoors as possible.
“We love taking walks and bike rides in the neighborhood, as well as playing at one of the many great playgrounds in the area,” she said. “We also like to take our toddler to Frankie’s Fun Park, Wannamaker County Park and Velocity Air Sports.”
If there’s anyone that can attest to North Charleston’s growth and the incredible revitalization it’s undergone, it’s Kenzie Cook. Cook has been a North Charleston resident for 33 years.
When he relocated here in 1983, his family wanted to make their home in an area that was conveniently close to everything the Lowcountry has to offer.
“As my family grew and we raised two children, we were drawn to this area because my kids were able to attend Dorchester District Two schools,” Cook said. “But the uniqueness of this location allowed us to still be a part of the North Charleston community that we had grown to love.”
A self-employed small business owner, Cook operates Carolina Pumpkins and The Christmas Tree Outlet. Seasonally he sells fireworks, pumpkins and Christmas trees. “The community has been very supportive and it’s been a great place to be a small business owner,” he said.
With both children now adults, Cook and his wife, Tanya, enjoy traveling together. Since North Charleston is close to the coast, the Cooks also enjoy boating with friends. Despite having lived in North Charleston for more than three decades, you’ll still catch Cook cheering on the New York Yankees.
In 2011, Kartika Gibson moved from Washington, D.C., to North Charleston for a career opportunity. A Columbia-area native, Gibson leaned on friends and family for recommendations on where to purchase a home.
“North Charleston turned out to be the perfect community for us,” said Gibson. “The city offers performing arts, concerts, fine dining, upscale shopping and entertainment that you would find in a large metropolitan city.”
Yet what makes North Charleston special is that it’s not a huge city. “It’s close proximity to several beaches makes you feel like you are always one step away from vacation,” she added. “But at the same time, the city is quaint, eclectic, diverse and most importantly has a family atmosphere, making North Charleston the perfect city to call home.”
Gibson also works here as a project manager for the U.S. Department of State with STG, Inc. The company provides mission-critical technology, cyber and data solutions to more than 50 U.S. federal agencies. Gibson manages a team of analysts and developers who support the Global Foreign Affairs Compensation Systems PeopleSoft North American Payroll.
To unwind, Gibson enjoys trying the different restaurants that North Charleston has to offer. Her favorite is Nigel’s Good Food.
A Summerville native, Dannie Hardaway relocated to North Charleston five years ago. She serves as the community outreach coordinator for North Charleston-based nonprofit Lowcountry Orphan Relief.
“Since I also work in North Charleston, I love the central location of living here,” Hardaway said. “I have a short commute, plus I’m nearby my family in Summerville and still have easy access to other parts of town like Mount Pleasant and Charleston.”
When she isn’t promoting programs or planning outreach events to support Lowcountry Orphan Relief’s mission of serving children that have been abused or neglected, Hardaway loves to travel. Earlier this year she visited Ireland, then jetted off to New York City for her 30th birthday. She’s also checked London and Paris off her bucket list.
“As much as I love to travel and learn about other cultures around the world, I love coming home to North Charleston,” she said. “There’s a sense of community here, especially in Park Circle, that’s really like no other. Although the area is relatively progressive, there’s a sense of consistency and tradition that I’m really drawn to.”
What truly makes North Charleston special is the people who live here and work together to improve the community’s quality of life. One of those people is Sean Ferneau, a local art dealer and owner of event planning company Ferneau Ventures.
“I particularly love the Park Circle neighborhood because of its sense of community,” Ferneau said. “People here truly come together, especially in times of need.”
A decade-long Park Circle resident, Ferneau enjoys planning events that bring the community together. Currently, he’s working on two Park Circle events this fall. In partnership with Holy City Brewing, the annual Brain Squasher Zombie Pub Crawl will take place in October. In November, he’s co-producing The Barbeque Joint’s block party event, Rockabillaque.
Ferneau, with some of the partners from Holy City Brewing, is also planning new event called Rare Beer Charleston, beer tasting and food event to be held in November at Riverfront Park.
Having previously lived in downtown Charleston, Ferneau was drawn to the historic charm of the Park Circle neighborhood.
“East Montague has a unique ‘Main Street’ feel with a 1950s-style skyline,” he said. “Friends introduced me to the neighborhood and it was a done deal from there.”