Downtown businesses raise concerns about King Street improvement plans

Local News

DOWNTOWN CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – Some businesses in downtown Charleston say they feel excluded from plans to improve King Street. The Charleston Downtown Alliance and the city are working together to make King Street a Business Improvement District (BID).

A public hearing Tuesday brought floods of support as well as a few concerns.

It would run from Broad Street all the way up King to Line Street. Business owners on upper King say it should be extended to Romney Street which is a few blocks further.

“Is it worth having a discussion on extending it up to our neck of the woods?” asked Jason Sakran, a city council member and business owner. “In five years, that is going to be the heart of downtown. It’s moving up.”

“The sticking point is Line Street to Romney Street is left out,” said Arthur Lawrence, a longtime downtown resident.

Project leaders addressed the concerns by explaining the planned district is just a first step and there is a possibility for an expansion.

“Part of the conversation all along is that what we’ve proposed is not the end all be all, it’s the starting point,” said Doug Warner, a representative of the BID. “We had to choose boundaries that we felt like needed immediate attention.”

The plan is to wait and see if the idea runs smoothly before tackling another area.

“The BID is not put in place to exclude anyone. We want a vibrant, diverse center of commerce in our community,” said Warner.

There have already been conversations among project and city leaders about potentially creating another BID in the Market Street area as well as other popular portions of the peninsula.

City council has already passed the resolution to create the BID, but it is expected to pass the ordinance later this month.

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