Trolley to ‘Neighborhood of Make-Believe’ (Ding-ding) ·
Magnolia Development paid $40,000 recently for two trolley cars that were being used as a rental property in West Ashley for the past 60 years. Although the purchase was made in December, Magnolia only recently found the right consultants and contractors to separate the cars and move them to their new home. Eventually, the cars will be completely restored and renovated as part of Magnolia’s redevelopment project in The Neck. “From the inception of Magnolia,” says spokesperson Jonathan Scott, “we’ve been asking, ‘How do we reconnect the Neck to the downtown historic district?'” The project was inspired by a similar restoration in Charlotte, N.C., where train enthusiasts raised money to restore a trolley car to run down a rail line. Years later, that trolley still operates and $600 million in development has sprung up around the rail corridor. “Charlotte made us realize the great potential to do something similar in Charleston,” says Scott. “There’s a vision of what’s possible, but there are so many other players that need to participate. So we’re taking it one step at a time.” —Anna Claire Hodge

Columbia Week in Review ·
It may be the Year of the Dog in China, but 2006 is definitely the Year of the Property Owner in the state legislature, as a House panel approved legislation last week that would give landowners power to fight against local — not state or federal — governments wanting to take their property through eminent domain proceedings. To fund or not to fund, that is the question the state House of Representatives is struggling with in the ongoing property tax reform/school funding debate. Last week, the House passed a bill that would place a constitutional amendment referendum on next year’s state ballot that would allow voters to decide whether or not they want to fund public K-12 schools on the state or county level. Over in the Senate, legislators approved a companion bill to the constitutional amendment. Looks like we might get some regional planning in the Lowcountry after all, especially after a bill was introduced into the House last week by Rep. Ben Hagood (R-Sullivan’s Island) that would require cities and counties to share various chunks of information with each other when putting together infrastructure plans. We’ll believe it when we see it. —Bill Davis

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