The City of Charleston has approved initial plans to create a medical district in downtown Charleston. This would be a cooperative effort with the Medical University of South Carolina, Roper Hospital and Robert H. Johnson VA Hospital. The Medical District was conceived by these three hospitals with a goal to provide a peaceful and calming greenway for patients to heal and for the community to enjoy.

“Ultimately this initiative is about not only healing the body but healing the soul,” according a recent press release by MUSC President David Cole, MD. “Patients and family members so often say thank you for not only the care provided but also the opportunity to walk into a garden or to have a place outside to rest. We are a place of health, healing and education. It’s important that we offer a place to gather and connect with the community.”

The project started to evolve when President Cole met with Roper Saint Francis President and Chief Executive Office David Dunlop to discuss developing a pedestrian walkway at Doughty Street rather than just an additional parking garage. “This pedestrian mall will provide them (health care professionals), and all our patients and visitors, a great venue to walk across our campuses and enjoy the beauty of the area,” Dunlop said.

The Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center joined with MUSC and Roper Hospital to work toward improving the space and pedestrian traffic near these three medical institutions. “We have a significant number of medical staff who hold appointments at the VA, MUSC and Roper, and walk between our facilities multiple times every day. We also have veterans who go to MUSC and Roper for certain appoints, so it is natural that our VA would be interested in improving the environment in this area.” Initial plans for this multi-million dollar proposal for the Medical District include:

  • Developing a pedestrian greenway that connects the eastern and western parts of the Charleston;
  • Making Courtney Street more pedestrian friendly, and improving traffic conditions;
  • Building an additional patient parking garage at Courtney Drive and Bee Street;
  • Extending Courtney Street past Calhoun to Long Lake (the old city marina) and connecting the street in the other direction to West Edge. This would result in connecting the upper west side of the peninsula to the lower part.

The cost of this multi-million dollar project will be shared by MUSC and Roper Hospital, according to spokesman Andy Lyons of Roper Saint Francis.

Source: MUSC Office of Public Relations Press Release 2015/MUSC, Roper, VA forming medical district within city (academicdepartments.musc.edu)

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