28 Feb A wise man speaks about Ladys Island
Gordon Fritz, who is both passionate and smart about his hometown, speaks after what I expect to be the first of several public forums to generate a citizen driven plan for Ladys Island. We worth reading and considering.
Our meeting last night was so much more than I expected. I was worried at 5:45 pm when I could identify only 30 or so members from the public. But then by 6:00 we were approaching 300. I heard that we created a traffic jam at the stoplight on Sea Island Parkway. The paper reported that we actually had 350 attend. I felt that Vic taught us a lot about designing a community. It was a necessary exposure so as to be able to work on our ideas. We lost about 50 attendees during his education class but most stayed and really put his instruction and thoughts to work.
I worked two tables and was really impressed with the ideas and thoughts put into the design activity. I suggested that all at the tables write a brief report of what was discussed and to put their “wish list” forward (to Chuck). I can only guess that the other 20 tables were as involved as they certainly looked to be.
A quick synopsis is that we finally discovered that our plan should not be one where rapid transit drove the design. If we want a special community, then we have to slow down and take the time to enjoy it. The first thing to look at is to make the roadways to arrive at a destination more numerous not bigger. This requires the use of a grid system as Vic taught us. We found several areas where this approach would work and take some of the pressure off Sams Point Road and the Sea Island Parkway as well as their intersection. We discovered by the examples that Vic showed us that the investment and planting of trees and green spaces really enhanced the attractiveness of an area even if we could not change the architectural styles of the homes and businesses. Bike and walking trails further enhanced an area. It was suggested that the new Spanish Walk system should be brought across the McTeer Bridge via Port Royal to involve the Lady’s Island community and eventually move towards the beaches. The McTeer bridge already serves as a recreational “bridge walk” to many islanders and Beaufortonians. One strong recommendation was that we need to develop one or more community centers on the island that could be connected by the Spanish Walk style paths along with tree lined streets other than the Parkway or Sams Point Road. These areas could contain creative parking (curved and not linear) among the green spaces with park like areas. Areas identifies included the Grayco shopping centers at both the Food Lion and hardware locations as well as the area behind the Shell station by the high school to include the small shopping center and the beautifully forested triangle behind the proposed Harris Teeter grocery store moving down Robin Way towards the middle school.
We also discovered that this is a 30 plus year project that needs to be achieved in small steps with the understanding that it will all come together at some point in the future but it was paramount to become involved in a good plan now so that we could see where we were going and guard against the abandonment of the plan as was done by the county with the neighborhood concept. The people that live on the island must determine what the future of Lady’s Island is going to look like not the local governmental agencies. We must stay involved.
This has been the first real step in achieving the goal we all want. GOOD GROWTH. There will be many, many more steps.
Let’s get to work and stay involved.