City asks residents to help update tourism management plan - WCIV-TV | ABC News 4 - Charleston News, Sports, Weather

City asks residents to help update tourism management plan

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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) – Charleston city planners want to know what can be done to improve the quality of life for its residents while still catering to the many tourists who visit each year.

That's why officials are talking to homeowners Monday night to find out what needs to be done to balance the needs of both. The two sides met with residents in the first floor board room of the Charleston County School District headquarters to start the process of updating the city's tourism management plan, a plan that has been in place since 1998.

It doesn't take long for visitors to fall in love with the elegance and charm of Charleston. Now city leaders want to make sure its popularity doesn't hurt those who live there.

"Trying to cut down on the traffic. Traffic is the number one issue for me," said Anne Blessing. 

She lives on East Bay Street. She grew up there. Now, Blessing sees the need to focus on tourism traffic, parking, and more public restroom facilities.

"We have people ask if they can use our bathroom all the time and a lot of times it's families with young children or older people, so we definitely need some bathrooms," said Blessing. 

"There's a real delicate balance between the residents and the visitors," said Kitty Robinson, president and CEO of the Historic Charleston Foundation. 

She's in charge of the committee supervising the updates to the city's tourism management plan. Robinson says revisions are needed to reflect the increased interest in visitors.

"We're asking the residents first to let us know what they think and how they think this city and the downtown should operate efficiently and comfortably for everybody's who's here," said Robinson.

That input will guide city planners on how to proceed with balancing the needs of Charlestonians like Anne Blessing and their guests.

"It's just going to get more and more crowded. The city is a great place and everyone wants to come, and we're glad to have them.  We just need to figure out how to make it work for the people who live here," she said.

Robinson says ideas and opinions from Monday night's meeting and future meetings will help the committee make any changes to Charleston's tourism management plan.

Officials hope to have an updated plan by the end of the year.

  • Bill Burr

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