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We are a newly formed organization of anxious homeowners that took root on the west side of the Charleston peninsula. We are of one mind, dedicated to bringing about innovative action by civic and political forces to stanch the ongoing destructive flooding of our property. Our group initially sought to shed light on the plight of our largely unrepresented residential corner of the city, a quiet district without fancy hotels or pricey tourist attractions. But because of the scale of Charleston’s flooding problem, Groundswell! welcomes membership from other corners of the city that are similarly underserved.
Many of our homes rose from the wretched refuse of 19th-century landfill. The Peninsula’s west side has suffered some of the worst storm damage. But citywide flooding prevention and mitigation has been a mere addendum on the city’s list of priorities. We deserve better, and we aim to draw attention to this neglect and to remedy it. And, we will share among our all our members practical advice on coping with flooding issues. We see ourselves not as cranky critics, but rather sage spurs under the saddle. Among our homeowners are many with vast experience, including financial expertise that could be tapped to goose the system.
Charleston’s vulnerabilities are more than evident in both 17th-century and current flood-prediction maps. We live with this dire reality, and it begs for immediate response. We appreciate that the city, at long last, is facing up to the existential flooding threat with grand remedies that, perhaps in a generation, could deflect the worst of the ocean’s might. But we reject the generational timeline as defeatist. We can’t wait that long, nor even a decade. We also cannot wait two years to rebuild and elevate the Low Battery seawall while considering design changes to the lands features along Murray Boulevard and White Point Gardens.
We will lobby for short-term emergency relief from increasingly frequent flood waters that roll in from the harbor and the rivers; they are destroying our very livability, not to mention our property values. In the longer run, for multitudes of homeowners, storm and tidal inundation has imposed a yearly tax in the cost of recovery, and it threatens prohibitive flood insurance premiums.
We believe, based on the past three years, that the city can enhance the diversion of water from our neighborhoods and that incentives can be established that would enable us to remain in our homes, in the city we love.
- Beatrice Bernier
- Veronica Goodrich
- Susan Lyons
Groundswell covers the lower western Peninsula (red outline on the maps).
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- It is the most exposed area of the Old and Historic District to tidal flood, projected sea level rise and flood surge during natural
event such as storms and hurricanes.
- It faces particular challenges as a result of its aging infrastructure and lack of maintenance including the Low battery seawall
built in 1910, a drainage and tidal drain system dating from 1850 &1878.
- Delays in implementing planned repairs to those infrastructures and flood mitigation projects such as installation of pump
stations are impacting the area (1984 plan.)
- It overlaps 2 historic neighborhoods Harleston Village and Charlestowne Neighborhood Association.
Header Images Provided by Preservation Society of Charleston
In the News
Now, after repeated historic floods over the past several years and an expected sea level rise of 2-3 feet in the future, the city is expediting plans to fix the old infrastructure and make sure new problems aren’t inadvertently created with new developments, the mayor said.read more
“Our most pressing challenge remains flooding and drainage.” –John Techlenburgread more
The challenge, as it so often does, lies in funding. –The Atlantic, Sept. 2, 2015read more