The Lowcountry Lowline has been a vision since 2012, and in 2017, Friends of the Lowcountry Lowline and the City of Charleston purchased the land that will be used for the project. In December of 2020, City Council approved the Conceptual Master Plan. After years of planning and visioning, it’s now no longer if this park happens, it’s when.
This 1.7 mile stretch of park will run from Mount Pleasant Street all the way to Marion Square and will be a part of seven of Charleston’s neighborhoods. The Friends of the Lowcountry Lowline see this park as transformative for the peninsula; its forward-thinking initiatives will address flooding concerns, mobility issues and affordable housing. In additional, it will serve as an off-street walkable, bike-able hub for programming, community events, the arts and local merchants.
The park is broken up into three sections:
- North Central Corridor – Stretching from Mount Pleasant Street to Romney Street, this district embraces its surrounding neighborhoods, and will be a great opportunity for community events and programming.
- The Parks – The center section of the Lowline, from Huger Street to Line Street, this will be focused on green space stormwater management – existing parks will be designed to hold more water, clean water from highway run-off, be a place for wildlife and have boardwalks for pedestrians to enjoy.
- The Urban Core – From Line Street to Marion Square, this district already has the most dense population and, once complete, will resemble a classic Charleston alley way. This narrow path will support creative opportunities for businesses to exist on the Lowline.
Other features of the Lowline include:
- A separate bikeway and path for commuting and leisure
- Mid-crossing blocks to ensure that when the Lowline meets with roads they work together
- Innovating lighting and safety features
As the central spine of a linear park system, the Lowline will complement other north-south projects like the Lowcountry Rapid Transit project. It will also help to connect downtown to West Ashley and Mount Pleasant by complementing and working alongside east-west projects.
Linear parks can often lead to increased gentrification, and the Lowcountry Lowline has kept that top of mind throughout the entire process. To avoid gentrification and support existing communities, they are advocating for increased affordable housing units along the Lowline.
In the short-term, the Friends of the Lowcountry Lowline are looking to the City of Charleston for funding to leverage for matching grants and philanthropy. They want to break ground in October 2021 and have a ribbon cutting in 2023. Hopefully by 2026 or before, the park will be completed.
Between now and breaking ground on the project, they will form a Community Advisory Committee, implement temporary arts and recreation to get people to the area, host monthly trash pick-ups and events with partnerships when possible.
Learn more about the park and how you can get involved at www.lowcountrylowline.org.