Beaufort News

Lot-by-lot survey of downtown to kick off redevelopment plan effort

A team of consultants hired to help Beaufort implement its comprehensive plan will soon begin a lot-by-lot survey of the city's historic downtown and other areas east of Ribaut Road -- one of the first steps in creating a strategic growth and redevelopment plan for the area.

The "Build Beaufort" team met with Redevelopment Commission members Thursday and gave a quick outline of the projects it plans to complete in the first quarter of the year.

The work falls under a two-year contract the commission signed last year with The Lawrence Group -- an architectural, interior design and planning firm that also created the city's 2009 Comprehensive Plan.

Build Beaufort will work with other organizations to coordinate resources and look at efforts already r planned or under way. It will use that information to create a "cohesive building program," Craig Lewis, managing principal with The Lawrence Group, said Thursday.

The team expects to create multiple neighborhood-level strategic plans that go lot-by-lot throughout the city, and will jump-start that effort east of Ribaut Road, including downtown.

Students from the University of Miami will help the group inventory buildings and infrastructure, Lewis said.

The group will meet with various stakeholders during January and February, he said. It will collect citizen feedback during a week-long series of public meetings in March.

After that, the team will create a strategic growth and redevelopment plan for the area, outlining specific needs, how to move forward and how to focus resources, he said.

The group also plans to hire a national retail consultant, which will work alongside Main Street Beaufort, USA to develop a business plan focused on retail tenant recruitment and retention, Lewis said.