Highway 41 and 17 improvements planned by Charleston County are seeing a push back from the local community asking the officials to reconsider their decision about the plan.
As we already reported, the Charleston County plans to improve the traffic and road infrastructure in the area of Mount Pleasant. The officials plan is to widen Highway 41 from the Wando River Bridge to the intersection of Highway 17 and 41.
However, they are seeing a push back to their plan and project from the historic community in Mount Pleasant.
There have been discussions in the recent period how these changes will impact the Philips community, but the people who live along Highway 17 said they haven’t been included in those conversations.
Many of the people who live there are part of the Seven Mile community, a historic African American area that has been around for centuries, who make sweetgrass baskets and sell them in roadside stands off Highway 17.
Residents in the area say that the project will further divide the community as majority agree that road improvements are more than necessary, but part of them will push back and boycott the project fearing for their existence.
“Every time you widen the highway you displace the basket markers. We would like to see them continue selling their wares here in the Seven Mile community on the side of the highway,” Seven Mile resident Jeannette Lee said. ” They keep widening Highway 17 and then we won’t have any more Seven Mile community. ”
Community Action Group for Encouragement (CAGE) representative George Freeman said their non-profit works with communities like Seven Mile helping to solve their everyday problems. The non-profit cares about these communities and focuses on improving their life. According to him, they are currently working with the Seven Mile community on the plan and hopes that their recommendations will be taken into consideration by the Charleston County.
“The 7A plan would have gone around the Phillips community, but would have come right back to Highway 41. In our plan, all we did was modify it to make it go through Highway 17, cross over Highway 17 and line with Billy Swails Boulevard,” Freeman said.
“This would create an opportunity to have a four-lane loop that would go from Berkeley County, all the way into Charleston County, connect up with 526, and circle back to Clements Ferry Road in Berkeley County.”
Charleston County announced they will hold a meeting on August 5. They added a new improved plan will be presented on the meeting hoping that will meet Seven Mile’s requirements as they have been working hard to minimize the effect on the surrounding communities in the improved version of the plan.