Six blocks long and no more than one block deep, bounded by CSX’s Cooper Yard to the south, Shipyard Creek to the north, Spruill Avenue to the west and a utility and rail corridor to the east, the Howard Heights neighborhood was platted in 1943 across Spruill from Windsor, now recognized as Union Heights, neighborhood to provide workforce housing. Legend has it that the neighborhood was named after Oliver Otis Howard for whom Howard University, the only Historically Black College and University chartered by the US Congress.
Howard Heights may be small but it is important to North Charleston’s southern gateway. As one enters the City from Charleston, it is the first point in which there is a collection of buildings on both sides of Spruill. Mastercraft Upholstery, Delta Electric, a new woodflooring showroom will be joining the Miracle Temple, and Ooh Events are all in Howard Heights. Cooper Ironworks is just a few blocks south. These businesses are committed to staying in the area, but their ability to thrive will be greatly enhanced if the area was recognized as the gateway for North Charleston’s Craftsmanship Zone.
With the new SCSPA facility and Intermodal Transfer Facility on the former Navy Base, industrial and warehouse uses are knocking at the doors of North Charleston’s southern neighborhoods. It is time to demonstrate how industrial development can work with the neighborhoods and even secure their value as workforce housing.
The Partnership for Prosperity Neck Area Plan set forth both vision and plan principles for the area. The vision principles include: connectedness, community vitality, economic freedom, and environmental health. The plan principles include: establish catalyst areas as centers of activity, promote connectivity, create a sense of place that strengthen communities, promote and facilitate social interaction, emphasize transportation options, provide a diversity of land uses, ensure neighborhood compatibility, and create pedestrian-friendly design.
These principles can be achieved with craftsmanship projects such as the Workshops at Howard Heights, LLC.