Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Public planning effort for Boeing and neck areas

The Berkeley-Charleston-Dorchester Council of Governments (BCDCOG) invites all residents of Charleston and North Charleston to participate in the Partnership for Prosperity planning effort to shape the future of tri-county region's core area between the new Boeing complex in North Charleston and US 17- Crosstown in Charleston.   The first Community Forum to launch this planning effort will be held Thursday, May 19, 2011 from 5:30 to 8 p.m. in the cafeteria of the Military Magnet Academy, located at 2950 Carner Avenue.

North Charleston Mayor Keith Summey, who chairs the BCDCOG, reflected on the importance of this partnership and its planning effort, citing the growing attractiveness of the region to new businesses and residents. “The opportunities in and around the Neck area are great,” said Summey. “The challenge is generational, and we are laying that groundwork for change today. As we create value, we change the concept of how this vital area is perceived.”

According to BCDCOG planner Jeff Burns, the study is a great opportunity for community members to work together shaping the future for themselves and their children.   “What do we want the core of our entire region to look like in 10 years - 25 years- 50 years? And how can we leverage public dollars with private investments to reach the goals of this area spanning two municipalities?”

Building on several local and regional planning efforts conducted over the past few years, the Partnership for Prosperity master planning effort provides an opportunity to gather the various ideas and initiatives into a coherent strategy for development that supports community character and vitality.

At the May 19th forum, staff from the BCDCOG and a consultant team headed by Renaissance Planning Group will ask participants to help identify the strengths of the region, including places they want to preserve and opportunities for growth and change. “It’s important for us to take a fresh look at what’s truly special about this area so we can capitalize on its best assets,” said Burns. “The Neck area and its surrounds feature a unique blend of industry, community, history, and nature. We need to capitalize on these assets in order to build – and rebuild – its communities into places that people cherish.”

Summey urged the leaders and citizens of Charleston and North Charleston to use this opportunity to truly form a “partnership for prosperity” in this vital core area for growth. “The goal is unification of the two cities around positive economic change. We no longer live in isolation. Every area has a direct effect on its neighbors, and there is a direct tie-in economically for the whole region by changing areas in a positive way.”

For more information about the May 19th Community Forum or the Partnership for Prosperity initiative, visit the BCDCOG website at www.bcdcog.com, contact Jeff Burns at (843) 529-0400 or jeffb@bcdcog.com.

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