April 1, 2023

Adam Parker

Gadsden Creek Case is Appealed with Hope of Preserving the Tidal Channel

The Friends of Gadsden Creek are not taking “no” for an answer. The group is pushing ahead in its effort to stop a new mixed-use development from replacing the waterway with a hotel, office buildings and condominiums.

A brief recently filed in the S.C. Court of Appeals disputes a decision by the S.C. Administrative Law Court that favored the WestEdge Foundation and the city of Charleston in a lawsuit pitting community activists against municipal and commercial interests.

WestEdge is overseeing development in one of the city’s tax-increment financing districts. It plans to fill what’s left of one of the last remaining tidal creeks on the Charleston peninsula.

The controversy over whether to save or destroy Gadsden Creek is a case study in how city-backed development can be leveraged to upgrade infrastructure and provide a public benefit.

It also shows how city-backed development continues to threaten African Americans on the West Side who have experienced a series of assaults over the decades, community activists say. This is just the latest project to encroach on the property, culture and history of Black people in Charleston, they say.

Ben Cunningham, an attorney with the South Carolina Environmental Law Project, which is representing Friends of Gadsden Creek, said the law isn’t the only thing on his side. So is a moral imperative to administer justice...

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