Bridge Demo to Make Way for Development

Mon June 06, 2005 - Southeast Edition

CHARLESTON, SC (AP) The city of Charleston would get the land in the shadow of the old Cooper River bridges as well as $3 million to help redevelop the area under a proposed agreement with the state transportation department.

The twin bridges linking Charleston and Mount Pleasant will be removed after the new $632-million Ravenel Bridge is complete. That bridge with a 1,546-ft. main span — the longest cable-stayed bridge in North America — is to open either June or in July.

Once the old bridges are removed, the city plans to put back together the neighborhood sliced by the spans.

“It’s seed money, to allow the city to move ahead with their planning,” said Bobby Clair, the Department of Transportation engineer overseeing construction of the new bridge.

Local leaders envision an area with hundreds of new homes along with shops, parks and ponds.

Mayor Joseph P. Riley Jr. said the city will consider creating a tax increment financing district to aid in the rebuilding. That would allow the government to borrow money to pay for improvements with the expectation future property tax revenues would pay off the bonds.