By Claire Weber, ABC 4 News

The fight to protect Gadsden Creek continues.

The Charleston Area Justice Ministry (CAJM) held a public event Thursday on the environmental harm it believes developing over the creek could cause.

In December 2022, a court gave developers the green light to fill and cap the creek. Developers said it’s necessary to protect the area from flooding and pollution, but neighbors argue the opposite.

“We want to grow along with these developments. We just don’t want to be pushed aside because it’s our community,” said Roland Flowers, who’s lived in the area for 15 years.

It’s a years-long fight.

People living in the nearby area are still doing everything they can to protect Gadsden Creek from overdevelopment. Neighbors say they’ve been overlooked by city officials and fear they’re slowly being pushed out of their homes.

“I’m hoping to get more of the community support, not just from our direct community, but the whole Charleston area because it’s not just our problem,” Flowers said. “If they cover the creek up, it’s going to be everyone’s problem.”

But the fight isn’t simply about a community.

Scientific experts argue that filling and building over the creek is dangerous for the environment. They said this area is known to be one of the hottest spots in downtown Charleston, and the creek provides necessary natural cooling.

“We are a coastal city that is in the throes of climate change and sea level rise and a history of developing on every square inch of our wetlands. And this is not a time to consider paving over even another square centimeter of a wetland,” said Merrie Koester, a local science teacher educator.

As a wetland, experts said the creek also prevents bad stormwater flooding and traps pollutants before they enter the Ashley River.

Local volunteers say they’re trying to give a voice to the voiceless. While the fight to save Gadsden Creek isn’t new, they see the new year as an opportunity to do more.

“I think the catalyst right now probably was our new mayor, Mayor Cogswell, being open to seeing if there’s a way to help the community make the creek work and still, satisfy the plans for development,” said David Ruef, a member of CAJM’s environmental justice committee.

CAJM volunteers say they’re not trying to stop development altogether. Instead, they’re working to correct the misconception that Gadsden Creek can’t be revitalized.

View the original story here.