Last week, I promised to send the op-ed that I had written in 2006 regarding the Daniel Island park. Again, I think of this to be a very important idea at an inflection point here in Charleston with regard to infrastructure, urbanization, and density within the Tri-County area.
I’d ask that you give it a read and think about a way in which you might be involved in this effort, and involve others.
The op-ed is included in the text below - but I’ve also taken the liberty of including an article that ran in The Daniel Island News this week.
Take a look at both, and would you do me a favor by forwarding these two articles to ten friends here in the Lowcountry as I’m looking for more ways to get people involved in what comes next in the Tri-County Waterfront Park… _________
Bold Plan for Daniel Island Holds Key to Quality of Life The Post & Courier April 2, 2006
“Our state, Charleston, and the people of the Lowcountry have a once in a lifetime opportunity, and I write to ask that you make your voices heard to ensure we take advantage of it. It boils down to this. Do we develop the 1,300 acre tip of Daniel Island in the same fashion other land across the Lowcountry land is being developed, or do we do something bold and different and unique since this is land without the normal month-to-month cash flow constraints common to lands owned by developers along the coast? Because you and I own this land, do we look to capture long-term value in addition to short-term return?
I think to be real stewards of the South Carolina each of us will pass to our children, we have to look long-term wen we have an opportunity like this one before us. Central Park in New York or the Mall in Washington, DC could have been made into apartments or homes years ago and in the short run, money would have been made, but value would have been lost.
In Fact, When you think of the great parks in the great cities of the world, there are two constants.
They enhance value. Some of the most expensive living spaces in the world are the places closest to these parks. That’s true on Fifth Avenue in New York overlooking Central Park; it is true of Millennium Park in Chicago, just as it is true of the parks in cities like London, Sydney, or Paris.
The quality of life for all people in the area is geometrically enhanced by having open space in urban environments. Charleston is a world-class city as well. To keep it that way, as our area gets crowded over the next 100 years, I believe it needs a world-class park. We have the opportunity now to create our own Central Park of tomorrow - one with scale - and make it even better by putting it on the water as Sydney Harbor National Park is on the water in the middle of the city. Doing so is crucial for these reasons.
The Charleston area will see a flood of new inhabitants over the next 30 years, not to mention the next 100 years. There will be increasingly less open space, and once it is gone, it is gone forever. Over 113,000 new homes are expected between now and 2030. This equates to about 269,000 more people and 209,176 more cars. It means the population of the tri-county will roughly mirror that of Charlotte or Jacksonville. We will add the equivalent of Charleston, North Charleston, Summerville, and Mount Pleasant to the present Charleston area.
If we want to stay livable, why not stay true to the tradition of the vision that makes this area so special. In the 1970's when the rest of the nation was tearing down its old downtown areas to make way for new skyscrapers, a visionary lady by the name of Frances Edmonds prevailed with others in starting the process of not tearing down but preserving old Charleston. It was not the commonly held sentiment around the country, but the Lowcountry is all the better for their vision.
I come from a different political party than Joe Riley, but that doesn’t stop me from admiring the clarity of his vision of wanting to make the best waterfront available to the public with the waterfront park. Keith Summey is now trying to do the same in connecting North Charleston to the water. Places like Summerville or Sullivan’s make our part of the world special because they don’t feel like Anyplace, USA. It took vision and work by citizens who care to make these things happen, but anyone living in those places would say it was worth the effort. I think the same about Daniel Island.
Finally, for all the focus on the almighty dollar, it turns out that quality of life is good business. Richard Florida recently wrote the national bestseller, The Rise of the Creative Class. Its basic premise is that low-value-added manufacturing will increasingly be done in the third world and that the creative process will be the key to creating wealth in developed nations. This could be done anywhere and his belief is that cities must have a high quality of life to attract and retain this so-called “creative class”.
In the Lowcountry this is nothing new because people have been coming here and staying for years because of the quality of life. In this regard it is important that we not kill the goose that is laying the coast’s golden economic-development egg - quality of life.
Daniel Island represents an opportunity to be progressive and forward thinking by creating open space for the next 100 years, and I hope we take it.”