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Coleman Boulevard Revitalization Project


Friday, June 30, 2006 - Last Updated: 6:59 AM

Panel has vision for Coleman


The Post and Courier

Mount Pleasant - The town's rapid growth has pole-vaulted it into the spotlight as the state's fourth-largest municipality, but its leaders want one of the main arteries, Coleman Boulevard, to have a small-town feel.

Another phase of that $4 million effort got under way Thursday with the first meeting of the Coleman Revitalization Advisory Board.

The town envisions the future of the boulevard, now a fast-paced, four-lane road winding from the shadow of the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge to the Ben Sawyer Causeway at Simmons Seafood, as a pedestrian-friendly place where people mingle on sidewalks in front of storefronts with condos upstairs.

"This is where Mount Pleasant began, and we're trying to build it back," said Christiane Farrell, division chief for planning and development.

When the project is finished next summer, Coleman Boulevard will be a place for mixing and mingling, an evening stroll and window shopping.

"This is probably one of the most outstanding things that we'll do," Mayor Harry Hallman said.

The 20-member advisory board is a key element of the Coleman Boulevard revitalization process. The board includes representatives of retail business, homeowners, restaurants, schools, banks, tourism and utility companies. "It's an incredible pool of talent," said Mac Burdette, town administrator.

The talent ranges from Rial Fitch of Mt. Pleasant Seafood and Everett Jones of Southcoast Bank to William Lewis of the Charleston County School District and Glenn Hollis of The Beach Co. The committee members listened to presentations from Burdette, Farrell and Eric DeMoura, deputy town administrator, among others.

The officials presented the board with an overview of the boulevard revitalization plan, including a pedestrian-friendly mix of retail business, restaurants and residences with improvements such as crosswalks at more than half of the intersections, underground power lines and on-street parking.

"We want activity on the street. People attract people," Farrell said.

The town's Revitalization Plan 2005 includes a number of provisions to achieve the goal of turning Coleman Boulevard into a people-friendly place. It encourages restaurant and retail businesses rather than office space. Building fronts would be 20 feet from the curb, and front sidewalks would be 10 feet wide. Large canopy trees, street furniture and planter boxes are encouraged.

As part of the revitalization, the town is looking at curing a long-standing safety issue for drivers merging from Chuck Dawley Boulevard onto Coleman Boulevard who have to whip their heads back to see if the coast is clear. The current idea for solving that problem is construction of a roundabout.

The town will pay for the improvements with $3.4 million in bonds and a $600,000 grant, DeMoura said. The committee expects to finish work in October.


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