Goose Creek is Big Time

If you do not subscribe to the Post and Courier I have provided exerpts from today’s issue dated January 11, 2011 highlighting Goose Creek’s rise to prominence within the State of South Carolina. This article, written by Dave Munday, is a fine tribute to our City and hopefully it will lead to greater recognition in the future as we are doing great things in Goose Creek. 

GOOSE CREEK — When Marguerite Brown moved here in 1968 with her Navy retiree husband, she didn’t like telling people where she lived.

“I just said, ‘North of Charleston,’ ” said Brown, a City Council member for more than 35 years who still lives in the Camelot subdivision off U.S. Highway 52 near Redbank Road.

At the time, Goose Creek had been a town for only seven years and there were problems. The water tasted like sulfur. Sewage sometimes oozed up into bathtubs.

The town had about 4,000 residents. Highway 52 was a two-lane road going through town, and there was no stoplight at U.S. Highway 176, now a bustling thoroughfare lined with stores and businesses.

A lot has changed as the city kicks off the celebration of its 50th anniversary. City planners expect the latest census to show 40,000 residents.

The city has a community recreation center with gym and pool, several parks and a network of walking trails.

Brown’s name is on the municipal complex, which opened in 1999.

Last month, Business Week magazine named Goose Creek the top small city in the state for families raising children. Business Week’s listing includes towns and cities with less than 50,000 residents where the median family income was within 20 percent of the state median, ruling out affluent and low-income locales.

The survey focused on the number of schools, school performance, cost of living, and crime statistics. It also included factors such as job growth, air quality, ethnic diversity, and access to the surrounding county’s parks, zoos, theaters and other recreational facilities.

The survey relied on 2010 data from Onboard Informatics, a New York-based real-estate data company that specializes in residential demographic and lifestyle information.

The news doesn’t surprise Kristen Bowden, who lives in Crowfield Plantation, a massive community of 4,000 houses around a golf course. She grew up attending Goose Creek schools, and two of her three children attend Westview Elementary and Westview Middle.

“I was raised here and I was very comfortable raising my children here,” she said. “The schools are great, and there’s a great sense of community.”

When asked about the downside, she said she hears people complain that there’s no fine-dining restaurant in Goose Creek but adds that she doesn’t mind driving to Charleston.

Most Goose Creek residents are used to driving. The city always has been primarily a bedroom community, a place for residents to sleep and relax while working elsewhere, according to longtime Mayor Michael Heitzler, the city’s unofficial historian.

Goose Creek is highlighting the family-friendly element in its 50th anniversary celebration. Two contests emphasize youth as the city’s future.

Two high school seniors each can win $500 scholarships with 500-word essays on how they would change the city if they were mayor, what is the biggest challenge for high school students in the city, or how they envision Goose Creek in another 50 years.

In a second contest, middle-school students can win a chance to be a police officer for a day by writing a 100-word essay on why police officers are important.

Goose Creek was incorporated as a town March 22, 1961, with an estimated 500 residents, according to a newspaper account at the time. A month later, the town’s first mayor, Hilton W. Bunch, estimated the initial population between 700 and 1,000. Within the first year, the population swelled to about 1,400 as new houses were built, according to another newspaper story. Goose Creek officials now estimate the town’s population was at 3,000 when it was incorporated. It later became a city.

The city has been one of the Lowcountry’s hot spots for new houses for the past several years. Even when many other markets slowed during the recession, builders kept busy in Goose Creek. Last year, 301 new houses were finished there, according to city planners.

Another mixed-used development has been approved for up to 5,000 new houses at U.S. Highways 176 and 17A, also known as Carnes Crossroads.  The Daniel Island Co. is planning it. 

Miller|Conway is looking forward to growing with Goose Creek, Berkeley County and its citizens.