NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – Those in the communities of Ferndale, Russelldale, Liberty Park, and Highland Terrance are being asked to give their input one last time ahead of the SCDOT finalizing their improvement plan.
Officials with the South Carolina Department of Transportation said the Community Open House at the Ferndale Community Center in North Charleston will be open to all on Saturday from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. regarding the I-526 Lowcountry Corridor West Project.
This project targets the 10-mile connection between West Ashley and North Charleston, which is one of the most congested roadways in South Carolina.
For Cynthia Anderson, a member of the Community Advisory Committee (CAC), the area around Liberty Park is a community. She said when she first meets anyone, “if they say I’m from Charleston, North Charleston, I say my mamma either knows you, or your family, or she knows somebody who knows them.” With her mother still living in the same 5 bedroom home, for her, near I-526 is home.
Anderson said she believes many can empathize with those in the four impacted neighborhoods as many have lived there for nearly 60 to 70 years. She went on to say that for citizens of the impacted communities, being mandated to leave their lifelong homes would be very traumatic.
While this is the fear for many, it’s understandable as in the 1960s, the SCDOT took homes away from the same community. Now, the SCDOT says they are looking to right their past by including those who will be impacted and seeing what they need ahead of their project.
Joy Riley, a Program Manager with SCDOT, said the work completed in the past had changed not only the look of the community but also cut the community in half. Riley said the infrastructure project now focuses on beautification and restoring some of those connections.
But even more, Riley said it’s making sure those who stay in the communities are taken care of with affordable housing, sound barriers, bike paths, walking paths, and community centers.
For those that are unable to make it, you can stop in by the SCDOT’s local 526 Community Office at 5627 Rivers Avenue, North Charleston, through the end of March.
For more on the I-526 WEST Lowcountry Corridor Project commitments, click here.