Beaufort News

TCL updates Beaufort Town Council on Reynolds Street plan

  • Technical College of the Lowcountry representatives gave Beaufort officials an update Tuesday on a road project that, as proposed, would require the city to take ownership of Reynolds Street and invest up to $48,000.
  • The improvements -- a narrower and re-paved road with a designated drop off area, a new crosswalk, additional sidewalks, landscaping and a stormwater drainage system -- would help improve access and safety on campus, officials said.

    TCL representatives first approached council earlier this year and asked if Beaufort would share the cost, saying the project will benefit the general public as well as the college.

    After meeting with Beaufort staff and making some city-requested changes to the initial proposal, TCL returned Tuesday with a new plan.

    Among the biggest changes: the city would have to take ownership of the road currently owned by the South Carolina Department of Transportation.

    Under city ownership, TCL could narrow the road, a change that would allow more plantings and sidewalk on each side, according to Greg Baisch, a project manager with Ward Edwards, an engineering and surveying firm working with TCL on the project.

    The DOT has said it will not allow a narrower road at that site.

    TCL plans to use federal economic stimulus money for the project, according to Hayes Wiser, vice president for administrative services.

    The grant requires that the funds be spend by the end of June, Wiser said, putting TCL on a tight deadline.

    Beaufort plans to ask the Beaufort County Transportation Committee for $25,000 to help cover demolition and paving costs.

    The city could also use annual stormwater fees to pay for the stormwater portion of the project, which is expected to cost about $15,000, city manager Scott Dadson said.

    The city could pay the balance from its general fund, officials said.

    Staff plans to draft a resolution for council to review next week that would make Beaufort's financial participation contingent on getting the County Transportation Committee funds, Dadson said.

    Council members also had questions on who would ultimately maintain the road, sidewalks and landscaping if the city took ownership.

    Staff said it plans to work with TCL to craft an agreement addressing those concerns.

    Dadson said the project has multiple benefits "beyond one property owner."

    "This would really tighten and clean the area up," he said. "It keeps inter-connectivity, so that's a good thing."