Members of Phillips and Seven Mile Communities speak out about proposed Highway 41 expansion project

Local News

MT. PLEASANT, S.C. (WCBD) – People who live in a historically Black community are running out of time to give their thoughts on a proposed highway expansion.

Members of the Phillips Community are worried projects on Highway 41 could push them out of their homes.

Dozens voiced their concerns Tuesday night at a Charleston County Council meeting.

Community members say they fear their homes are at risk of being turned into a shiny new suburb.

Some who spoke saying, ‘gentrification’ is an ugly word:

“The gentrification in our cities coincides with the development in once rural communities like Phillips.”

New homes, new roads, and new suburbs are putting the community at risk:

“We own our houses, we own our land, we pay our taxes…people want what we got and that’s very obvious.”

Richard Habersham, the President of the Phillips Community Association, says the people speaking out about the highway expansion are fighting for generations of homes:

“It’s home, for most of the people who came out, and a lot of the folks that supported us, they have been out there, they have seen our community, they walked around when we have our family, they have come out and joined in on the southern cooking, you know the barbecue, so they understand family and they understand community.”

Richard Habersham, President of the Phillips Community Association

Another historically Black community, the Seven Mile Community, would also be impacted by the proposed expansion:

“All we keep hearing about is 41 with option 1 and option 7A, option 1 and 7A terminates in the 7 mile community, so we are trying to bring attention to that also.”

George Freeman, Director of Community Activity for the Community Action Group for Encouragement

For now, the communities are asking for more time and a seat at the table when it comes to making a decision:

“How can you make a decision about me and I am not there to answer the question.”

The deadline for public comment is this Friday, and County Council is expected to make a decision about the project in October.

However, the timeline could be delayed if council feels that they need more time for community feedback.

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