Beaufort City Council votes down redevelopment plan - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Beaufort City Council votes down redevelopment plan

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The Beaufort City Council held a special council meeting where they unanimously voted to terminate the current Downtown Marina redevelopment project. 

All five council members and mayor opposed the project known as River Place after so many citizens spoke out against it.  

Back in 2003, the council unanimously approved the Sasaki Plan. The city finished phase one but funding issues kept them from starting the second phase.

Phase two of the Sasaki Plan would have extended the waterfront park by taking out some of the parking spots, adding a bandstand, upgrading the Farmer's Market and the Marina Ship store.

At the time, both Mayor Billy Keyserling and Mayor Pro-Tem Donnie Beer voted for it.

 "Now why they forgot they had a perfectly good plan in place and wanted to have a private commercial development down there…that's still a mystery to me," David Taub with Civic Green said.

Taub, who served as Beaufort Mayor back in the 1990s, is part of a grassroots movement known as the Civic Green. Like many others, he spoke out against River Place which consisted of a mixed use property.

"The wrong project at the wrong place at the wrong time," he said.

Civic Green has collected more than 2,100 petition signatures online opposing the current proposal and believes phase two of the Sasaki Plan could be financed if the city adds it to the list of Capital Sales Tax projects. 

"This opens more space, takes some of that asphalt out and replaces it with green space…we're all for that," Taub said.

Even though the city has heard the public's outcry, Taub still had reservations about how much money has been spent.

"We spent $2 million with the Lawrence Group on the civic master plan and there are a lot of questions about that," he said.

Mayor Keyserling told WTOC the $2 million was spent over seven years for the civic master plan. He said he's open to finishing the Sasaki Plan if they can find the money for it.

He added that the developers of River Place paid for the conceptual design out of their own pocket.    

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