With the beginning of 2018, The Island Packet and The Beaufort Gazette will preview some of the biggest local issues expected to impact the lives of residents, workers, business owners and tourists in Beaufort County and surrounding areas.
The face of Boundary Street has changed during the past two years.
A big box store and major restaurant have closed, and a local outdoors retailer moved to another area. A local business moved across the street and expanded. One hotel remodeled, and another is scheduled to be replaced.
Signs along the road offer property for sale or lease. Rumors have flown about the next business to close or what might be coming.
As Beaufort’s favorite road project wraps up in early 2018, one of its key selling points will be closely scrutinized: Will the new $33 million Boundary Street spur investment and new business along the 1.2-mile thoroughfare?
City leaders have touted an expected 5-to-1 return on the project cost based on an economic analysis before work began. That’s more than $150 million in anticipated investment.
An empty Kmart building and vacant Applebee’s are among the properties to watch for activity in 2018.
Planners and consultants also envision that the new roadway and parallel Polk Street will better allow people to walk and bike to shops and the Spanish Moss Trail.
The project’s critics are wary of the potential effect of raised medians on businesses’ bottom lines and access for emergency responders.
We’ll all know more soon.