MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C. (WCBD) – A historically black community in Mount Pleasant is responding to plans to widen a busy Charleston County highway.
The improvements to Highway 41 will happen around the Phillips Community. Many who live there are expressing concerns for the project – they say it comes down to the quality of life.
It’s an established community dating back to the 1800s, and while project organizers say people would not be pushed out of their homes, residents feel losing sizeable parts of your yard greatly impacts the quality of life.
Elijah Smalls Jr. has a street named after himself along Highway 41. He’s lived off the stretch of highway his entire life, even being born in the community. He remembers playing in the road before it was paved.
Smalls has been fighting to protect his property from the proposed expansion for nearly 20 years, saying the existing community feels pushed out by new builders and residents
“It’s a lot of things that are a negative effect on the community, from all the subdivisions being built, and I understand it’s all about the dollar,” he said. “People are buying property to build subdivisions.”
He went on to say, “Some homes will have to be just gone, and those people, they are just going to be displaced. They won’t be able to buy a home anyplace else, because there are no affordable homes anywhere in the area for individuals from communities like this.”
Cal Oyer who serves as project manager for the county, says the current plan would compensate anyone impacted by the widening project, and that “this alternative does not displace any people from their homes.”
No plans for improvements have been finalized by Charleston County Council yet, and they are currently looking for public comments through September 11th.