Charleston community, city leaders working to help Central Business District struggling from pandemic, riots

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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – Charleston city and community leaders are working to strengthen businesses hit hardest by the pandemic and riots this summer. King Street business owners, city council, and City of Charleston Mayor John Tecklenburg are teaming up to help businesses struggling.

The Central Business District Improvement Commission will also look at making long-lasting improvements in hopes of making the Central Business District one of the best in the area.

“Many local retailers are also under pressure and that’s why the mayor and city council want to be partners in the improvements of the Central Business District,” says Director of Planning, Preservation, and Sustainability for the City of Charleston, Jacob Lindsey.

Lindsey says the city is working to build a path forward for struggling businesses to emerge from the pandemic.

“And part of rebuilding and improving our Central Business District and our main streets has to do with making sure that our central business district is safe,” says Lindsey.

Residents say they are hopeful leaders taking action will rebuild a weakened economy for Charleston businesses.

“Yeah I love to see the economy thriving… I hate seeing any kind of local businesses struggling, whether it’s from the riots or from the pandemic or whatever it is,” says Charleston resident Tim Wallis.

Wallis is hoping the commission and city officials will listen to Charleston residents as well but says he is happy to see action being taken.

“I mean generally I like the idea of our political leaders taking action to help bolster our economy,” says Wallis.

The commission will consider improvements for areas of King Street, Market Streets and other popular downtown areas, “and will help to make sure that city council understands those challenges,” says Lindsey.

“The council working with the mayor can then help to shape a quick response.”

Changes and improvements could come sooner rather than later once the commission is filled out by city council.

“The group has a deadline,” says Lindsey. “Their work can only go one for the next two years so we’re not looking at long term efforts here we’re looking at things that can be done right now.”

A shared goal for a stronger Charleston economy.

“To get back where they were or even better,” says Wallis.

Additional committee members are expected to be added to the commission at city council’s next scheduled meeting. Lindsey says the commission is expected to hold it’s first meeting sometime in the next two weeks to begin discussing options.

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