Downtown Charleston neighborhood put at ease with plans for sound barrier
CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) -- A small community's fears have been put at ease after a 7-year battle with the state's Department of Transportation. A compromise means residents will stay, an interchange will be built, and a sound barrier will divide the two.
For years, the Rosemont Community has fought to stay alive. It sits under Interstate 26 along the King Street extension, nestled between a handful of industrial businesses.
"We have the railroad tracks over there. Then, there was the fertilizer plant over there," said Nancy Button, who was born in the neighborhood.
Neighbors say when I-26 was first built in the area, it pushed dozens of families out of their homes. Now, the community is half the size of its original build.
"They had no choice. They had to find a place," said Rosetta Ware-Johnson, whose family moved into the community more than 50 years ago.
In 2007, the close-knit corridor was faced with yet another problem. The South Carolina Department of Transportation wanted to build another off-ramp near the Spruill Avenue exit of I-26.
"We had to read about it in the newspaper," said Button. "That's when I started lobbying at meetings to try to find out what we could do to try to save our community."
Button is also the president of the Rosemont Neighborhood Council. She says she and her neighbors feared they would be pushed out of their homes.
"These elderly people live on a fixed income," said Button. "Where are they going to go?"
Button fought against the project but lost. So, she says she fought for a compromise instead.
"They're going to tear down North Meeting Street ramp and then they are going to come over from Union Heights and take part of Southern Lumber Company," said Button.
Button says the project will now include building a sound barrier behind a group of homes on Doscher Avenue.
"This is a win," said Button. "Definitely a win because they're not going to take the entire community."
The New Port Access Road will connect to the new Navy Base Terminal, which is currently under construction.
Calls to SCDOT officials were not returned.