Protect Your Property with Chimney Cap Installation

Flowertown Gas Fireplace and Chimney Service offers service repairs and installations in West Ashley and surrounding cities. Call us today for a quote!

  • Gas Fireplace Maintenance
  • Gas Fireplace Maintenance
  • Chimney Cap Installation
  • Fire Hazards with Dryer Vent Cleaning

Chimney Sweep in West Ashley, SC

There's something alluring about chimneys - whether they're old or new, they have an inherent charm that adds architectural flair to your home. Perhaps more importantly, fireplaces keep you and your family warm and cozy during cold South Carolina winters. Who doesn't love gathering in front of the fire with friends to enjoy a fun board game or a few rounds of drinks?

Anyone who owns a chimney should most certainly enjoy it. But you should know that your chimney isn't there to simply make your house look special - its primary role is to keep you and your family safe. In fact, when you're relaxing in front of a cozy fire with your favorite book, your chimney is hard at work making sure the fire's harmful fumes are directed up and away from you and your home.

Unfortunately, when you fail to clean your fireplace and the flue lining it, things can heat up in a matter of moments - and not in a good way. The truth is that unclean fireplaces can lead to chimney fires, which are known for causing horrible property damage and even harm to people. Chimney fires can be explosive, with flames shooting from the top of your chimney and dense smoke billowing out into the street. It's a horrible situation to endure. Fortunately, homeowners in South Carolina can rely on a chimney sweep in West Ashley, SC, to keep their chimneys clean and in great working condition. That's where Flowertown Gas Fireplace and Chimney Service comes into play - to help you enjoy your home's fireplace without worrying about worst-case scenarios.

Service Areas

Chimney Sweep West Ashley, SC

Stay Safe, Warm, and Cozy withFlowertown Gas Fireplace and Chimney Service

As a local, family-owned chimney sweep company in South Carolina, our team is dedicated to keeping gas fireplaces, wood burning fireplaces, and dryer vents clean and in great working condition for homeowners. By letting our family serve your family, you can rest easy knowing your fireplace and chimney are ready and waiting for you to enjoy this winter, whether you have a gas fireplace with logs or a more traditional wood burning alternative.

Our mission is to serve our customers with superior chimney and gas fireplace service by providing years of knowledge, time-tested solutions, and customer education to build trust and customer loyalty. We offer a range of chimney sweep services in West Ashley, SC, including the following:

  • Gas Fireplace Service, Repairs, & Installation
  • Gas Log Service, Repair, & Installation
  • Chimney Sweep Service & Cleaning
  • Wood Fireplace Service & Repairs
  • Exterior Chimney Cap Sales & Installation
  • Chimney Inspections

Unlike some chimney sweep companies in South Carolina, our team has been certified to ensure we know how to install, maintain, and repair all types of fireplace appliances. In fact, over our more than 12 years of experience in the fireplace and hearth industry, we've obtained a few credentials along the way, including:

CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep

Homeowners looking for reliable and knowledgeable chimney and venting professionals have trusted the Chimney Safety Institute of America's (CSIA) endorsements for over three decades. By selecting a technician who is certified by CSIA, you can rest assured that they possess the necessary expertise, qualifications, and experience to provide you with top-notch chimney sweep service in South Carolina.


NFI Certified Gas Hearth and Wood Burning Hearth Professional

When it comes to planning and installing fireplaces, stoves, and venting systems, skill and technical knowledge are absolutely crucial. There are countless decisions that must be made, including determining the appropriate floor protection, appliance sizing and placement, and venting system compatibility and height.

For the most reliable and proper installation, it's highly recommended that you seek the guidance of a specialist. The National Fireplace Institute is a trusted, independent, non-profit certification agency that has established the highest standards for certification in the hearth industry. Those who pass the rigorous examination covering the fundamentals of proper installation are awarded NFI Specialist Certification, ensuring you can trust their expertise.

Now that you know a little bit about our company and our mission, it's time to learn more about the fireplace and hearth services we offer to homeowners in South Carolina.

  Chimney Sweep Services West Ashley, SC

Keeping Your Home Safe with Gas Fireplace Maintenance in West Ashley, SC

Gas fireplaces are one of the most common features of homes in South Carolina and bring a special ambiance to any room. As with any appliance in your home, however, it's important to keep your gas fireplace maintained throughout the year.

It is crucial to have your gas hearth appliances serviced annually. At Flowertown Gas Fireplace and Chimney Service, our team of experts will thoroughly clean, service, and inspect your gas hearth appliance, as well as perform any necessary repairs. If you notice black soot on your logs or they are not burning cleanly, it is imperative to shut down the appliance to schedule gas fireplace maintenance or repair ASAP.

It's important to note that your gas logs should only be serviced and repaired by a certified gas specialist from the NFI or National Fireplace Institute. There's nothing wrong with hiring a friend, but if they don't know what they're doing, your safety may be at risk.

 Gas Fireplace Repair West Ashley, SC
 Wood Fireplace Repair West Ashley, SC

Why Should You Have Your Gas Fireplace Serviced

At Flowertown Gas Fireplace and Chimney Service, one of the most common questions we get is whether or not a customer really needs to have their fireplace serviced. The two biggest reasons for doing so are appliance reliability and safety. The truth is it's very important to adhere to the manufacturer's guidelines and have the system inspected and serviced annually by a certified gas specialist.

Failure to do so could result in the production of lethal carbon monoxide gas, which is odorless and requires special equipment to detect. Additionally, gas leaks and improper venting can pose serious hazards, which is why inspection of the venting system, chimney, and fireplace is imperative. With proper maintenance and regular checks, you can enjoy the warmth of your gas hearth system with confidence and peace of mind.

If you haven't kept up with gas fireplace maintenance and believe something is wrong with your hearth or chimney, consider gas fireplace repair in West Ashley, SC.

What About Un-Vented Gas Fireplaces?

Heating systems that don't require vents are like regular home heating systems. But they need to be working properly and checked often. It's a good idea to open a window if you're using a vent-free heater. There are rules about when you can use them. It's a good idea to have an expert check your heater's location. Sometimes, people don't know how to use their fireplace or heater correctly - and that's OK. At Flowertown Gas Fireplace and Chimney, we're happy to answer questions and give you tips so you can safely enjoy your gas fireplace.

 Gas Fireplace Maintenance West Ashley, SC

Common Signs You Need Gas Fireplace Repair

Whether you have a vented or un-vented gas fireplace, it's important to know when you need maintenance or repairs. Keep these signs in mind, especially as you approach fireplace season.

Burning Smells

Burning Smells

If you detect any unusual odors emanating from your gas fireplace, it is important to take action. While some odors may not be a cause for concern, the smell of gas or burning wires should be taken seriously. To ensure your safety, turn off the fireplace and immediately open windows to let in fresh air. Be sure to also call a certified chimney sweeping company like Flowertown to repair and resolve any further issues. In the event of a suspected gas leak, evacuate your home immediately and dial 911 for assistance.

Turns On and Off

Your Gas Fireplace Turns On and Off

If your custom gas fireplace is turning on and then quickly turning off, this is a serious issue that requires immediate attention. There can be multiple reasons for this malfunction, so it's best to contact a trustworthy chimney sweep in South Carolina who specializes in gas fireplaces. Turn off the unit and wait for the technician to arrive to prevent any further damage.

Buildup of Soot

Buildup of Soot

It's normal to wipe off soot from various areas of your fireplace while you're cleaning. However, if you notice excessive amounts of soot, you're dealing with an underlying problem that needs professional attention.

Pilot Light Malfunctions

Pilot Light Malfunctions

If your gas fireplace's pilot light is not working properly, it could indicate a potential issue with the wiring, gas valves, or thermostat. Keep an eye out for any inconsistencies in its performance.

Reliable Wood Fireplace Maintenance in West Ashley, SC

While gas fireplaces are more common and often easier to operate, wood fireplaces have their own unique ambiance and allure. If you're like us, nothing sounds better than curling up in front of a crackling fire on a cold winter's night with some hot cocoa and a good book. Unfortunately, when you fail to maintain your wood fireplace and are reluctant to have it repaired, you're putting your safety on the line.

That's why we offer top-notch chimney cleaning services at Flowertown Gas Fireplace & Chimney Service. Our certified hearth professionals will thoroughly clean your chimney, removing any creosote buildup and inspecting all vital components to ensure everything is in proper working order. Don't take any chances when it comes to the safety of your home - trust us to keep your chimney in tip-top shape.

 Wood Fireplace Maintenance West Ashley, SC

Why Should You Have Your Wood Fireplace Inspected by a Chimney Sweep?

There are several compelling reasons why you should have your system inspected by our team. As we mentioned earlier, your chimney is likely to accumulate creosote deposits, which can pose a serious fire hazard. However, with our chimney and fireplace sweeping services, you can significantly reduce this risk. Plus, there may be hidden defects in your system, such as within the flue or smoke chamber, which are difficult to detect without professional inspection.

Suppose you are a new homeowner or have never had your system inspected by a certified chimney sweeper in South Carolina. In that case, it's time to call Flowertown Gas Fireplace & Chimney Service. Our experts can provide the necessary maintenance and recommendations to ensure your system is safe and functional. Whether you need an inspection, maintenance, or wood fireplace repair, our team is ready and waiting to help.

 Chimney Cap Replacement West Ashley, SC
 Chimney Cap Installation West Ashley, SC

Why Should You Have Your Wood Fireplace Inspected by a Chimney Sweep?

There are several compelling reasons why you should have your system inspected by our team. As we mentioned earlier, your chimney is likely to accumulate creosote deposits, which can pose a serious fire hazard. However, with our chimney and fireplace sweeping services, you can significantly reduce this risk. Plus, there may be hidden defects in your system, such as within the flue or smoke chamber, which are difficult to detect without professional inspection.

Suppose you are a new homeowner or have never had your system inspected by a certified chimney sweeper in South Carolina. In that case, it's time to call Flowertown Gas Fireplace & Chimney Service. Our experts can provide the necessary maintenance and recommendations to ensure your system is safe and functional. Whether you need an inspection, maintenance, or wood fireplace repair, our team is ready and waiting to help.

Essential Wood Burning Fireplace Safety Tips

Having a wood fireplace is a wonderful addition to any home, but it needs to be maintained and repaired, or else it can be very hazardous to your family. Try following these safety tips when enjoying your wood stove or fireplace.

 Dryer Vent Cleaning West Ashley, SC

Keep a Fire Extinguisher Nearby

To increase the likelihood of effectively controlling a fire and preventing it from spreading, it is important to have a fire extinguisher nearby. This can significantly reduce the response time in the event of a fire, as every second counts.

Chimney Sweep West Ashley, SC

Look for Chimney Cracks

Try to regularly inspect your chimney for any cracks, obstructions, or signs of damage. Cracks can be particularly dangerous, as they can allow heat, smoke, and harmful gases to escape into your home. Cracks can also serve as an entry point for water, which can be particularly harmful.

  Chimney Sweep Services West Ashley, SC

Talk to Your Family

To ensure safety around your wood burning fireplace, it's essential to educate your family, especially kids, about the potential hazards of fire and the importance of responsible behavior. By teaching them wood fireplace safety measures, you'll create a secure environment for everyone in your house.

 Gas Fireplace Repair West Ashley, SC

Have Your Chimney Inspected by a Seasoned Chimney Sweep in South Carolina

Regular chimney inspections and cleanings prioritize safety and maintenance while providing peace of mind and reducing the risk of chimney fires. Plus, by having your wood fireplace inspected, you'll have peace of mind knowing it works when weather starts to freeze.

 Wood Fireplace Repair West Ashley, SC

Protect Your Property with Chimney Cap Installation in West Ashley, SC

If you've ever looked at a house and noted how great the top of their chimney looked, it's probably because they had an attractive chimney cap. Chimney caps and chase pans play a crucial role in both the functionality of a chimney system and the aesthetic appeal of a home's exterior. A well-designed chimney cap safeguards the chimney from animal intrusion, minimizes wind-induced downdraft, and is an essential component in preventing water entry, which can cause significant damage to chimneys.

If you're looking to add or replace your current chimney cap, you're in the right place. Our collection of custom chimney caps comes in a variety of styles and colors to match or supplement your home's beauty. Of course, as professional chimney sweepers in South Carolina, we also offer chimney cap repair and water prevention options where necessary.

How Do You Know When a Chimney Cap Needs Maintenance?

Your home's chimney cap is likely the highest point of your home, making it an easy feature to forget about when it comes to yearly maintenance or repair. That's unfortunate, because even small damage to your chimney and its cap can allow debris and water to enter. Do yourself a favor and examine your chimney cap regularly for the following red flags:

  • Visible Cracks
  • Loose Bricks
  • Tiles Falling from Chimney
  • Cracked Mortar Joints
  • Rust in Fireplace
  • More

If you notice any of the following signs, you should call Flowertown Gas Fireplace & Chimney Service for expert chimney cap repair.

 Gas Fireplace Maintenance West Ashley, SC
 Wood Fireplace Maintenance West Ashley, SC

Avoid Hidden Fire Hazards with Dryer Vent Cleaning in West Ashley, SC

Have you noticed that it's been taking longer to dry your clothes after washing them? If so, your dryer vent might need to be cleaned - and we're not just talking about the screen you pull out to remove lint. But why?

Regular cleaning of your dryer vents is a must for many reasons, but primarily to prevent lint buildup that can lead to house fires and extend your appliance's lifespan. Dryer vent cleaning is especially important if you tend to leave home while your dryer is in use, as a fire could ignite in your absence. Neglecting proper dryer vent cleaning not only wastes energy but also causes longer drying times and increases the likelihood of machine malfunctions.

Unsure whether you need dryer vent cleaning from Flowertown Gas Fireplace & Chimney Service? Call our office today for an inspection - it's always better to be safe than sorry. You can also keep an eye out for signs like:

  • Burning Smells
  • Extra-Long Dry Times
  • Your Clothes are Unusually Hot
  • Your Lint Flap Won't Open
  • Your Laundry Room is Hotter Than Usual

If you notice one or more of the red flags above, you should act fast. Flowertown chimney sweeps are fully equipped to provide a comprehensive dryer vent cleaning service for all brands of dryers, including gas, electric, and high-efficiency machines.

The Premier Choice for DRX9000 Therapy in New Jersey

At Orlando Physical Therapy, we offer a comprehensive approach that combines Physical Therapy, Massage, and Acupuncture to promote overall wellness of mind and body. To help provide relief for patients with serious back problems, we now offer spinal decompression using the state-of-the-art DRX 9000. With the help of our licensed therapists, our goal is to guide you toward optimal physical function rather than simply alleviating your pain.

With our proven track record of success, we have helped many patients enhance their quality of life, and we look forward to doing the same for you. If you're in need of sciatica treatment in Charleston, SC, herniated disc therapy, or a non-surgical solution for a different back issue, know that relief is in sight. Contact our office today and take the first step back to living a normal life.

Request a Quote

 Chimney Cap Replacement West Ashley, SC

Latest News in West Ashley, SC

West Ashley offers a change of pace from busy downtown

West Ashley, the area across the Ashley River from peninsular Charleston, offers a change of pace from some of downtown’s more tourist-centric areas of town. Home to more than 40 percent of the city’s population, the area boasts parks, restaurants, breweries and shopping catered to locals.ExploreKnown to some as the “birthplace of South Carolina,” West Ashley is home to the well-preserved colonial village, Ch...

West Ashley, the area across the Ashley River from peninsular Charleston, offers a change of pace from some of downtown’s more tourist-centric areas of town. Home to more than 40 percent of the city’s population, the area boasts parks, restaurants, breweries and shopping catered to locals.

Explore

Known to some as the “birthplace of South Carolina,” West Ashley is home to the well-preserved colonial village, Charlestowne Landing. The 184-acre state park off of Old Towne Road offers an opportunity to explore both the city and the state’s modern origins. With walking trails, marsh views and a small zoo, the state park is a site visitors and locals alike can visit multiple times for different experiences.

For the active set, West Ashley is home to Shadowmoss Golf & Country Club and bowling alley Ashley Lanes. Get practice on your swing at Charleston Golf, a combined golf simulator and bar.

Get a breath of fresh air on the 7.8 mile West Ashley Greenway which starts at U.S. Highway 17 and Wappoo Road and ends at Higgins Pier where anglers can cast a line. There’s another opportunity to fish off of Sam Rittenberg Boulevard at Northbridge Park.

For a different scenic walk, meander via boardwalk through marshes and coastal forest at the Stono River County Park in outer West Ashley.

Shopping

Unlike other areas of the city, West Ashley is home to some large-scale retail spaces that make it an ideal place for furniture stores and other specialty shops.

Residents don’t have to go far to furnish a home with pieces from both local shops and national chains. Some local favorites include Charleston Amish Furniture, Hausful and Warehouse 61.

Consign Charleston offers seemingly endless rows of second hand furniture, clothing and other treasures. The warehouse setting and fun mix of oldies music make it an ideal environment to spend an entire afternoon browsing for unique finds.

Further down U.S. Highway 17, more warehouse-style retail spaces offer a variety of maritime stores for the city’s boaters. Choose from Hankel Marine, West Marine and Seel’s Outboard among others.

Eat and drink like a local

In West Ashley, residents and visitors alike can start their day at local coffee shops like Second State Coffee which provides unique seasonal offerings like jasmine lattes in the summer, or Highfalutin Coffee Roasters has a rotating menu of international coffees from nearly every continent.

For more sustenance, New Orleans-style brunch is served at Ruby Sunshine daily. For a French flair, check out La Bonne Franquette’s brunch on weekends.

Those in a hurry can grab an authentic East Coast bagel from Blazing Star Cafe or make a stop at the Bigby Coffee drive-thru.

When lunch time rolls around, West Ashley delivers a bevy of barbecue options. Swig & Swine, Home Team BBQ and Bessingers Barbecue all have outposts in the area. But vegetarians have options, too. Stop at Dellzville for vegan eats including a pizza topped with edible flowers.

For sandwiches try the fried chicken at Boxcar Betty’s or a Chicken Charleston from East Bay Deli. Mellow Mushroom or Paisano’s Pizza Grill will satisfy a pizza craving too.

Spend the afternoon drinking local beers at breweries including Frothy Beard Brewing Company on Sam Rittenberg Boulevard, Charlestowne Fermentory’s two locations and Edisto River Brewing Company in outer West Ashley.

Dinner and drinks take many forms in West Ashley. Avondale Wine & Cheese offers a lengthy wine list accompanied by charcuterie and tapas. Across the street, Triangle Char & Bar offers a more laid vibe with beers and bar bites. Further down the road, The Glass Onion serves up authentic southern soul food with menu items like shrimp and grits, gumbo and red rice.

Casual drinks are served at favorite Avondale watering holes Gene’s Haufbrau, and The Roost Bar ’n Grille. Near the Shadowmoss neighborhood try House of Brews and for live music head to Tin Roof on Magnolia Road.

Supermarket, El Molino offers all specialty ingredients needed for a Latin meal including homemade tortillas. But there’s always the option to bail on cooking last minute and order the street tacos they make in-house.

West Ashley homeowner embraced native planting. Charleston County threatened to fine him.

Just a few turns off Savannah Highway, as the car dealerships and fast-food joints give way to expansive views of saltwater and marsh, a one-story home is nestled among a thicket of wildlife.Four massive live oak trees anchor the lawn. Bird feeders dangle from the heavy branches. A gravel path snakes its way through nearly 100 species of flowering plants, trees, grasses, shrubs and more. Bees, butterflies and other animals flap and crawl, happy to call this place home.Elliotte Quinn has created an oasis in his front yard....

Just a few turns off Savannah Highway, as the car dealerships and fast-food joints give way to expansive views of saltwater and marsh, a one-story home is nestled among a thicket of wildlife.

Four massive live oak trees anchor the lawn. Bird feeders dangle from the heavy branches. A gravel path snakes its way through nearly 100 species of flowering plants, trees, grasses, shrubs and more. Bees, butterflies and other animals flap and crawl, happy to call this place home.

Elliotte Quinn has created an oasis in his front yard.

Quinn, who moved with his family to Edgewater Park three years ago, is part of a growing number of property owners choosing to embrace native planting. The technique uses specific plant species to attract native pollinators, ultimately creating a balanced food web.

Proponents argue native plants help battle erosion, reduce air pollution and promote biodiversity. Pesticides and lawn mowers are no longer needed as the ecosystem begins to keep itself in check.

Native yards vastly differ depending on the gardener. But they almost never fit the mold of a traditional American lawn — grassy and weedless, with a few evergreen bushes framing the front, said David Manger, owner of Roots and Shoots, a native plant nursery in West Ashley.

A native yard, particularly to the untrained eye, can look wild and unkempt, Manger said. Some property owners find themselves fighting community associations, disapproving neighbors or government ordinances to keep their chosen aesthetic.

Quinn can attest. The father of three, who works during the day as a lawyer specializing in construction defects, has received two complaints in under a year from Charleston County’s zoning and planning department.

Code enforcement officers told him the front yard violated an ordinance concerning weeds and rank vegetation. The most recent complaint — a June 7 letter shared with The Post and Courier — threatened a summons and hefty fine if he didn’t get rid of the “overgrowth.”

Both times, after Quinn explained his choice to cultivate the yard with native plants, county officials dropped the case.

Columnists

‘Quinn’s Meadow’

Quinn’s passion for native planting exploded during summer 2020, in the throes of the COVID-19 pandemic. He started a vegetable garden with his young daughters, spurred by a childhood interest in wildlife and conservation.

They grew tomatoes and pumpkins, but worms began destroying the plants. Not wanting to spray the garden with pesticides, Quinn began reading about natural alternatives. He learned what he could plant to attract predator insects.

“That kind of spiraled off into something of an obsession with native plants,” he said.

Quinn ripped up the grass in his front yard, tossed out some seeds and bedded a few plants. He eventually hired someone to turn over the topsoil, put down compost and create gravel walkways.

The garden — which his daughters affectionately call “Quinn’s Meadow” — grew from there.

Green is the dominant color across the yard. But if a visitor sat on the front porch swing where Quinn likes to spend early mornings, they’d notice pockets of flowers interspersed with grass and fruit trees. They might hear the chirp of a painted bunting, delighting in its feathery rainbow of reds, blues and greens.

Manger, who used to lead the Charleston Permaculture Guild, said the number of people committing to sustainable agriculture has increased over the years. He’s noticed property owners beginning to steer away from typical yard spaces.

Edgewater Park, where Quinn lives, doesn’t have a homeowners association. But Manger said more people are coming to Roots and Shoots for advice on how to use native plants and work around stringent rules.

A compromise, for instance, could be to cover half of the yard with native plants and leave a small mowing strip of grass at the front, Manger said. This signals to neighbors the garden is both maintained and intentionally designed.

A fine line

Quinn first received an email from Charleston County in September 2022, he said. A code enforcement officer told him they’d gotten a complaint about his yard and wanted to talk.

By the time they spoke on the phone, the officer had driven by the property and realized the design was intentional — not the result of a lazy homeowner. The officer closed out the complaint.

Months later, on June 7, county officials notified Quinn they’d received another complaint of vegetation overgrowth. An officer inspected the property and found him in violation of a county ordinance prohibiting uncultivated, dense overgrowth, the letter states.

The county gave Quinn until June 22 to remove it, threatening him with a summons and $1,087 fine. He responded with an eight-page letter explaining why his yard complies with the ordinance.

Quinn spends hours each month intentionally cultivating his garden — planting, weeding and watering new plants — he wrote. Many of the native plants are considered priority species by the S.C. Department of Natural Resources. Prohibiting a property owner from growing them would conflict with state environmental and resource protection statutes, Quinn said.

County officials relented, deciding he hadn’t violated any ordinances. They closed the case.

SC Climate and Environment News

Quinn feels bothered by the whole situation but is grateful to have a legal background, he said. The homeowner wondered about others who might find themselves subject to similar scrutiny.

If a government went through with imposing a fine or issuing a summons for native planting, Quinn offered to represent them pro bono — to stand up for others who want to change how we do landscaping, he said.

A Charleston County spokeswoman refused to make anyone from its zoning and planning department available for an interview. The department takes all complaints seriously and investigates them, she said.

Manger hopes that as native planting becomes more common, code enforcement officers will have more tools in their arsenal to decipher a native lawn from an overgrown one.

“It’s definitely a fine line,” he said. “You’d kind of have to know what plants you’re looking at.”

Plenty of flowers and a general diversity of plant species are usually signs of a native yard, Manger said. But the best way to find out is by asking the gardener.

If you spoke to Quinn, he’d proudly show you his favorite flower: the swamp rose mallow. The native hibiscus, with big white petals and a dark-pink center, blooms only for a day.

If you’re lucky, you might catch a glimpse of a chimney bee pollinating the flower. This specialist insect primarily forages on hibiscus plants; Quinn knows he’d never see one if he had a traditional lawn.

Call Jocelyn Grzeszczak at 843-323-9175. Follow her on Twitter at @jocgrz.

Commentary: Charleston, West Ashley in particular, needs progress, not promises

My wife and I are raising our two boys in West Ashley. They play baseball and soccer at West Ashley and Ackerman Parks, First Tee at Shawdowmoss Golf & Country Club, and basketball at the Bees Landing Recreation Center. We ride our bikes and go for walks in our neighborhood of Carolina Bay. It’s where we shop, go out to eat and meet with friends. West Ashley is also where the current mayor has failed to lead time and time again over nearly eight years.The reality is that planned and consistent improvements, shared-use paths,...

My wife and I are raising our two boys in West Ashley. They play baseball and soccer at West Ashley and Ackerman Parks, First Tee at Shawdowmoss Golf & Country Club, and basketball at the Bees Landing Recreation Center. We ride our bikes and go for walks in our neighborhood of Carolina Bay. It’s where we shop, go out to eat and meet with friends. West Ashley is also where the current mayor has failed to lead time and time again over nearly eight years.

The reality is that planned and consistent improvements, shared-use paths, beautification, and integration of service and amenities in West Ashley has been slow, nonexistent in some areas and outright ignored in others. Put simply, the city has not consistently invested in improving the quality of life and capturing the vibrant spirit of the largest part of our beloved city.

This long overdue work is not right, fair nor equitable.

The Sumar Street redevelopment is a prime example. For that development, only one developer responded to the city’s request for a proposal. Going with one developer is not a good practice when dealing with public dollars for such a project.

That developer is seeking $100 for a 99-year lease and millions of dollars for the development’s parking needs, but putting $23 million toward an underground garage does not make that area prime for private sector investment.

Rather than complement the next door Ashley Landing redevelopment, the city chose to compete with it. The limited vision, planning and implementations continue because the mayor created a tie rather than vote in the majority in order to take meaningful action at the July City Council meeting.

The incumbent has moved too slowly to implement any of the recommendations from the Plan West Ashley document that the city spent $500,000 to produce. The West Ashley Project Coordinator has no budget, staff and authority to provide the needed services, engagement, and progress the largest part of our city has lacked.

A plan without the right level of personnel and budget to implement its findings creates illusions, false hope and frustrations. We can change this. The largest part of the city can’t be without the staff and resources to service residents and businesses.

Imagine what we can do for West Ashley and other parts of our city that have been left behind if we apply for more of the millions of available federal funds from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and Inflation Reduction Act. We have an opportunity to secure such funds, and I will make it a top priority to pursue this funding and bring such resources to our city.

My experience and current work at the local, state, and federal levels of government uniquely puts us in the best position to accomplish this.

We can stop imagining better gateways to West Ashley, better drainage, better roads and streets, sidewalks, safe bike lanes, connectivity, façade improvements, gathering spots and so much more — and start living it. We need a workhorse to get this done.

If you are happy with the level of leadership and service you have received over the past eight years, I’m not your person. However, if you want more and expect more from your mayor and city, I have something tangible to offer.

Clay Middleton is a native Charlestonian who is running for mayor. A Citadel graduate, he serves as a lieutenant colonel in the S.C. Army National Guard. He previously served as director of Business Services for the city of Charleston, where he led the Business & Neighborhood Services division. He also has served in the Obama administration and as a longtime aide to U.S. Rep. Jim Clyburn.

Get a weekly recap of South Carolina opinion and analysis from The Post and Courier in your inbox on Monday evenings.

Debate continues regarding development of former West Ashley Piggly Wiggly site

The City of Charleston Community Development Commission met Thursday to discuss the development of the old Piggly Wiggly lot on Sumar Street in West Ashley.CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - The City of Charleston Community Development Commission discussed the development of the old Piggly Wiggly lot on Sumar Street Thursday night for the first time since last month after a city council meeting deferred discussions due to ...

The City of Charleston Community Development Commission met Thursday to discuss the development of the old Piggly Wiggly lot on Sumar Street in West Ashley.

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - The City of Charleston Community Development Commission discussed the development of the old Piggly Wiggly lot on Sumar Street Thursday night for the first time since last month after a city council meeting deferred discussions due to a split vote.

The meeting lasted for three hours as commissioners argued back and forth, with some advocating for green space to be the focus, and others wanting the project to focus on revitalization.

City officials and the public were asked for their input on three different proposals last month, with the first option including underground parking, outdoor areas and a civic building.

Option one was the most popular with 72% of the community in favor of the design, yet approval failed in a split decision vote by the city council.

“I just want to say I’m a little surprised and disappointed that it seems like the politicians are just not listening to the residents of West Ashley,” community member Sharon Gardner says.

Thursday’s meeting was set with plans of potential action for the project, but after hours of heated discussion, the only decision made was to develop another proposal with a design only including civic building and green space.

“I think we need to develop another option,” Charleston City Councilmember, William Dudley Gregorie, says. “We need to develop another option that is green space, and municipal space, and let the people of West Ashley take a look at that.”

The motion was made even after dozens of members of the public continued to push for option one.

“Having something in our community to allow us to gather is very important,” West Ashley resident William Tinkler says. “I’ve talked with many people in the last couple of months, and I can tell that people in West Ashley, they want action; they want something done now.”

Although the meeting was held by the Charleston Community Development Commission, almost every member of the Charleston City Council joined, saying no project in the city’s history has had this large of a public response.

“Approach this effort in this project through the lens of West Ashley revitalization,” councilmember Ross Appel says. “We need to find a way to jumpstart the economy of West Ashley; because let’s face it, West Ashley does lag behind other parts of the city and other parts of the region.”

Unless one voting member changes their mind, at this rate the decision will simply remain split.

Charleston Mayor John Tecklenburg himself is on the side of economic growth.

“If we approve it, we would be able to move forward and get something going, that includes the multi-uses that respectfully many hundreds of our citizens weigh in upon over the last few years,” Tecklenburg says. “It’s a good option; it will revitalize the West Ashley, it’s a good way to go”

A community member who has been involved in the process says this is the nineteenth meeting on the development in the last six years.

Robert Mitchell, Perry Waring, William Dudley Gregorie and Caroline Parker were in favor of Thursday’s motion to develop another proposal with design only including civic building and green space. Mayor John Tecklenburg, Ross Appel and Jason Sakran were opposed.

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Bank threatens to pull plug on West Ashley American Legion’s years-long effort to build HQ

Wars have lasted fewer years than American Legion Post 179′s effort to replace its termite-chewed West Ashley headquarters. Now with the finish line in sight, a bank has put the construction project in doubt.The new headquarters — a bar and commercial kitchen, really, with a small event rental space — is approaching completion on the site of the old Post 179 building on Ashley Hall Road.“That’s where our juke box is going to be,” said Post 179 Vice Commander Tom Lynes, pointing to a bundle of...

Wars have lasted fewer years than American Legion Post 179′s effort to replace its termite-chewed West Ashley headquarters. Now with the finish line in sight, a bank has put the construction project in doubt.

The new headquarters — a bar and commercial kitchen, really, with a small event rental space — is approaching completion on the site of the old Post 179 building on Ashley Hall Road.

“That’s where our juke box is going to be,” said Post 179 Vice Commander Tom Lynes, pointing to a bundle of wires hanging from a cutout in the drywall near the bar. He estimated the building is 90 percent finished.

The problem is, Post 179 has all but run out of money and First Citizens Bank & Trust has declared the group’s loan in default, partly due to “failure to adequately proceed with construction for the property securing the loan,” according to a letter from the bank shared by Commander John Coy.

“Nowhere within our contract indicates that we must finish the construction by a certain date and therefore they are coming up with some other untrue excuses in order to get hold of our property,” said Coy.

“They claim that the loan is in default because we have left the property in an unfinished state for an extended period of time,” he said, adding that is not the case. Work on the heat and air conditioning, electrical and handicap spaces have recently been completed.

“Members have been taken care of the property whenever we have not had any funds to keep the contractors working,” he said.

First Citizens spokeswoman Karen Stinneford said: “By law, we cannot comment on a customer’s account.”

The letter from a lawyer hired by the bank said the American Legion owed $288,768.95, plus interest and attorney fees, and the firm could take action “to collect on the debt and recover the collateral for the loan” if the alleged defaults were not fixed within 30 days. The letter was dated July 13.

Coy and Lynes said the post has never missed a payment, has no other debt and owns the property where the building is under construction.

“Even without the building, the land is plenty of collateral,” said Lynes, estimating the land is worth $1 million or more.

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Work began in early 2020, right before the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic caused delays and a sharp escalation in prices for construction materials and labor.

“An eight-month project has turned into four years,” said Lynes.

Coy said the original budget was $600,000. So far, it has cost $737,000.

The post has attempted to solicit donations, so far without much success. A Gofundme appeal that began in January 2022 sought to raise $100,000. It has collected $3,815 so far.

Lynes said the post is talking to a different lender, seeking a loan large enough to pay off First Citizens, finish construction, and pay for supplies to stock the bar and kitchen. The post’s main source of income was selling food and drinks before the old building was demolished.

Members of the post have done a good deal of the interior work themselves, sometimes using donated or salvaged material such as counter tops and cabinets. The nonprofit group has about 400 members.

The post’s effort to construct a new building date back to at least 2008, when a dispute among members of the veterans’ group erupted over the fate of a more than 5-acre property on Mutual Drive. One faction wanted to build a new post building there, another wanted to sell it.

The infighting escalated to the point where a member in a leadership position was kicked out of the legion, at least one lawsuit was filed, and the post was threatened with potential loss of its charter.

When the dust settled, the property on Mutual Drive was sold, but Post 179 ended up with less than $300,000 from the sale. It’s now an 18-house subdivision.

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