Community Groups Collaborate To Shape Redevelopment

By Barney Blakeney

Community organizations have come together in the Chicora/Cherokee neighborhood to mitigate the impact of a planned warehouse at Reynolds and Spruill avenues.

As the S.C. Port Authority facility at the former Charleston Naval Base adjacent to the community takes shape, redevelopment and commerce in the area that has been economically depressed since the naval shipyard closed in 1996 is emerging. The $1 billion cost of the new S.C. State Port Authority facility is spurring economic redevelopment. The blighted Chicora/Cherokee community left in the wake of the naval base closure is transitioning to its former working class and middle class character as North Charleston, the state’s third largest city, sheds a rusty manufacturing exterior to take on the luster of a diverse modern and urban community.

Among the organizations working to insure that those who were left behind and have remained are not displaced by redevelopment are the Lowcountry Alliance for Model Communities (LAMC) and Metanoia Community Development Corporation. Together with the Chicora-Cherokee Neighborhood Association and the Reynolds Avenue Area Merchants Association they reached an agreement with FLSC Properties, LLC and Frontier Logistics, LP which will construct a 600,000-sf warehouse. The developers initially planned to route trucks servicing the warehouse through the Chicora/Cherokee community.

Metanoia CEO Rev. Bill Stanfield said, “We knew when the facility was proposed that routing tractor trailers through our community was going to be very detrimental to the neighborhood. Thankfully Frontier Logistics listened to our concerns after we worked with our partners to mobilize the community.  Frontier owns the property so they had broad rights in what they could have done, but I am grateful that they came to the table with the neighborhood and listened to our concerns and adjusted their plans so that tractor trailers will not be routed directly through the community.”

LAMC President Omar Muhammad said the warehouse traffic and that from the port authority’s intermodal transportation hub daily would put some 300 trucks in adjacent communities. The impact on residents’ ability to move freely within their neighborhoods in addition to the pollution from exhaust emissions would be devastating, Muhammad said. Frontier Logistics agreed to route their trucks through the port side of the facility, he said. Moreover, Frontier Logistics has agreed to provide funding for teen behavioral projects and give community residents priority consideration in hiring.

Moving forward the organizations hope to work together to shape the economic redevelopment of the Reynolds Avenue corridor to insure diversity and inclusion with a focus on quality and equality, Muhammad said.

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