CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – King Street business owners are heading up an initiative with the City of Charleston to bring improvements to one of the city’s most important shopping and dining districts in hopes of improving the street’s experience. If approved by City Council, it would establish a partnership between the city and the Charleston Downtown Alliance, a non-profit of King Street business owners.
The private non-profit organization is leading the charge to bring changes to the busy downtown street. City officials say the group brought the idea to city leaders in hopes of making enhancements.
Some of the discussed changes include adding additional security and safety, increasing maintenance projects and adding beautification along the road. Business owners say it’s a needed step to keep King Street flourishing for years to come.
“King Street is a thriving economic engine and we want to do everything we can to enhance that and that’s what this will help do,” says Roy Neal, Owner of El Jefe Cantina located on King Street.
The Business Improvement District would be stablished through a partnership between the city and Charleston Downtown Alliance to address improvements in several areas on the busy street.
“Mounted officers for the horse patrols, adding hanging baskets or adding holiday lights, things like that would really make the environment so much better,” says Neal.
If approved, a King Street District would be established and the property owners inside the boundaries would pay an additional property assessment to fund the projects.
“This will just give an additional funding source to be able to have those things that people downtown or on King Street feel are important needs,” says Neal.
The funding would come solely from the properties in the district. Meg Thompson, Director of Business and Neighborhood Services for the city says areas of improvement have already been identified.
“That (funding) can be used for maintenance, safety, beautification, programming and all sorts of things,” says Thompson.
City officials and business owners say over the last year, the need for improvements along the street has become more apparent making it the perfect opportunity to adopt the plan.
“King Street because it’s such an important part of our city and has such heavy volume of activity, it needs these enhanced services and this is a great tool to accomplish that,” says Thompson.
For business owners and city leaders, they say it’s needed improvements to keep one of the city’s most vital lifelines alive and thriving.
“This is just another tool in the toolbox to help businesses down here to help the land owners, to help the business owners and to help the community,” says Neal. King Street is back but there are things that it needs.”
On Tuesday, Charleston City Council will discuss the proposed memorandum of understanding with the Charleston Downtown Alliance at a city council meeting. In order for the plan to take affect, city leaders say they would need a majority of support from the business owners within the Business Improvement District on King Street. There are other needed administrative steps, like a public hearing needed to make the project come to life.