Public concerned about downtown Beaufort marina redevelopment pr - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Public concerned about downtown Beaufort marina redevelopment project

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It was a full house inside Beaufort City Hall and people had lots of concerns.

Wednesday night was the first public meeting hosted by Historic Marina Partners, the development firm that's in charge of redeveloping the downtown Beaufort marina parking lot.

River Place is the temporary name for Historic Marina Partners' vision of the downtown marina redevelopment project.

But some people don't think it's the best fit for Beaufort.

City leaders have tasked Historic Marina Partners with creating a modern space that blends in well with the city's rich history.

But more importantly, it must be a catalyst for revitalizing downtown Beaufort.

"This three legged stool of historic sensitivity, community livability and economic viability. It isn't just the buildings, it's the experience of being there," said Jim Chaffin, Historic Marina Partners.

Parking, for both cars and boats, was only one of the big concerns people had at Wednesday night's meeting.

Others were concerned this mixed use property will obstruct the natural view of the waterfront park.

And once it's gone, they're afraid it will never come back.  

"I've done work with them, they're the people to do a great job but I just don't think this is the right job, the city owns the land, the people in Beaufort own the land, it should not be handed over to be developed," said retired landscape architect Howell Beach.  

Many agreed that they need more information, such as feasibility studies, on what would fit best in that area.

But city leaders said they are moving slowly and deliberately to make sure everyone has a chance to speak their mind.

"Change equals fear of the unknown, we understand that, we're empathetic with that," added Chaffin.  

Historic Marina Partners will now take all of that feedback into consideration as they start developing a conceptual design over the next two months.

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