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City approves plan to purchase old railroad property, move forward with Lowcountry Lowline

Lowcountry Lowline Project (WCIV)

Out-of-service railroad property in the heart of Charleston soon will be converted into a linear park and greenspace, a pedestrian path and affordable housing.

Charleston City Council voted unanimously Tuesday in favor of a purchasing proposal for the Lowcountry Lowline project, which will see the city splitting half of an approximate $5.1 million cost to revitalize and redevelop an abandoned Norfolk Southern rail line and adjacent properties.

Friends of the Lowcountry Lowline (FLLL), a group that has spearheaded an initiative to revitalize the rail corridor, recently secured the purchasing rights for the property, but needed the city's support to make its vision for the property a reality.

Per the proposal the city passed Tuesday, taxpayers will foot half of the roughly $5 million anticipated cost for the project, and FLLL will cover the other half with money from private business and developer investments, as well as fundraising donations.

The rail line at the project's center is 1.6 miles long, stretching down the heart of the Charleston peninsula from Cortland Street to Woolfe Street near the elevated portion of I-26.

FLLL says it wants to see the rail line repurposed as a linear park and greenspace with a walking and biking path as part of a larger initiative to reconnect areas of the city split by I-26, and the old rail line itself.

The proposal in addition to redeveloping the rail line also calls for building affordable housing on another section of railroad property along the east side of King Street, and turning 1.68 acres on Mount Pleasant Street into a transit hub.

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