For residents along Thurgood Road near Goose Creek, a way of life is being threatened. Unfortunately, this is becoming all too common in our neck of the woods. Read on to learn more about the situation and how to get involved.
If your community is experiencing a similar situation, please email me at [email protected] or call me at (843) 723-5127.
The Berkeley County Dispatch
When Willie Ford bought his property off Thurgood Road in the early 1980s, that part of Berkeley County was still rural country. He went in together with a few buddies he knew from working at BellSouth and bought an 8-acre property they parceled up between them. He made a home for his family. His friends and neighbors hunted doves and grew okra in their gardens. At that time, Thurgood Road was unpaved. School buses wouldn’t come down the dirt road. Neither would mail carriers. Residents along Thurgood Road walked to the post office to get their mail. Many of them cut through Willie Ford’s front yard, but he didn’t mind that.
Legend had it that his yard was situated on a path used by enslaved people from nearby plantations, such as Thorogood Plantation. Originally established in 1682, Thorogood Plantation consisted of about 3,000 acres. After the Civil War, the plantation was subdivided and came to serve as the core of an African American farming community. Most likely, the name of the plantation served as a partial namesake for Thurgood Road, the spelling adjusted to honor Thurgood Marshall, a civil rights activist and the U.S. Supreme Court’s first African American justice.
Today, the Thurgood Road community looks very different. Thurgood Road is paved now, and the City of Goose Creek has grown up substantially around the community. Perhaps the biggest change is the growth of the JW Aluminum plant located at the corner of Thurgood Road and Old Mt. Holly Road. When it was established in 1979, JW Aluminum was a small operation with only 10 employees. Now, JW Aluminum is a massive company with multiple locations across the United States and over 500 employees. Willie Ford and other residents now have to deal with increased traffic and the sights and sounds of heavy industry in the heart of their community. Even more concerning are the putrid odors from clouds of smoke seen rising from the plant in the early morning hours.
Thurgood Road is for community, not industry
Residents along Thurgood Road have remained tolerant of the factory in their community for many years, but now JW Aluminum has crossed a line—both literally and figuratively. The aluminum manufacturer is seeking to expand its operations across Thurgood Road, which has long served as the border between the industrial area and the residential area. JW Aluminum has requested to have multiple home sites rezoned in order to build an outdoor storage facility. Berkeley County staff recommended this request be denied because it does not conform with the comprehensive plan, which is the guiding document for all land use and zoning decisions in the county. It is based on citizen input, created by planning experts, and officially adopted by County Council.
On October 26, the Coastal Conservation League stood alongside members of the Thurgood Road community and strongly encouraged Berkeley County Council to deny the requested rezoning. We believe JW Aluminum should locate the proposed storage facility on one of the other properties they already own that are zoned for industrial use. County Council will discuss this request at the Land Use Committee on November 9. If you believe Thurgood Road is for community, not industry, reach out to your representative on Berkeley County Council and let him know you oppose the rezoning.
The Thurgood Road community is not alone in its fight for preservation. As Berkeley County continues to grow, other communities find themselves in similar situations. We must band together to protect our communities and ensure that all citizens experience a high quality of life.
The first step in that effort is to participate in the comprehensive planning process. Show up or tune in to the public meetings and let county officials know that citizens want to conserve rural land, advocate for natural resources, protect historic settlement communities, and improve transportation. If you’d like to check out our full list of recommendations, you can find those on our website.
Band Together for Berkeley County
It’s a busy month in Berkeley County. We need your support in three major ways!
Stand with the Thurgood Road community
Berkeley County Land Use Committee – Monday, November 9 at 6 p.m. Administration Building –Assembly Rood, 1003 Highway 52, Moncks Corner. Agendas, when posted, can be reviewed here.
Berkeley County Council – Monday, November 23 at 6 p.m. Administration Building – Assembly Room, 1003 Highway 52, Moncks Corner. Agendas, when posted, can be reviewed here.
Share your ideas for the future through the comprehensive plan
In-Person Public Meetings:
You can drop-in at any point in the allotted time, and engagement only takes about 30 minutes!
Foxbank Elementary School, Multipurpose Room
Thursday, November 5
Cane Bay High School, Auditorium
Tuesday, November 10
Philip Simmons High School, Auditorium
Thursday, November 12
Goose Creek Elementary School, Multipurpose Room
Tuesday, November 17
Timberland High School, Auditorium
Thursday, November 19
Online Public Meetings:
Wednesday, November 11
Monday, November 16
Wednesday, November 18
Express your concerns about Misty Meadows
You received an action alert earlier this week letting you know about a public hearing regarding the proposed Misty Meadows development on O.T Wallace Boulevard.
Register to participate in the public hearing teleconference on November 10 at 6 p.m.
Submit written comments via email to [email protected] or mail them to: Logan Ress, DHEC – Bureau of Water, 2600 Bull Street, Columbia, SC 29201.