Having immigrated to the United States, and at the same time, Charleston, in January 1977, my wife and I regard ourselves as relative newcomers to the Lowcountry. Our arrival did coincide with the early years of Joe Riley’s mayoral tenure, and for that we are grateful. We all know what progress our city has made in the intervening years.
A source of constant pleasure for both of us is to spend a quiet weekend afternoon meandering through the small streets and alleyways of old Charleston. We always manage to find something “new” but actually quite old.
Our drive home to West Ashley takes us up Lockwood Boulevard and by the vacant Sergeant Jasper apartments. This structure has become an eyesore, a blight on the surrounding neighborhoods. Ironically, Colonial Lake’s restoration promises to beautify the area considerably in the near future.
The skyline is beautiful when seen from the Cooper River and East Bay side. From the Ashley River and Lockwood Boulevard perspective, nothing could be further from the truth. Innumerable squat, rectangular and boring block-like structures make up the landscape. Functional? Yes. Edifying? Definitely not.
I understand the reasons for the delays and the opposition to the plans for the site, but I find the architectural impressions that were published months ago to be functional and aesthetically more in keeping with improving the appearance of the lower west side of the peninsula.
To patch up the current building may just be to delay the inevitable. An updated or appropriate set of buildings in the area would only enhance the value, general livability and appearance of that particular part of our peninsula.
The elections are coming up. So, to paraphrase President Reagan — “Mr. (or Ms.) Mayor, tear down these walls.”
Walter Leventhal, M.D.