Ralph H. Johnson VA Health Care System
Charleston’s Medical District has gone green
It was as if the weather had been ordered especially for the day—a picturesque sunny Lowcountry day was the ideal setting for the Charleston Medical District Greenway Kick-off event on Nov. 20. Music filled the air as guests entered the sectioned off area of Doughty Street between Ehrhardt Street and President Street. The completion of Phase 1 is the first tangible sign of the green space that will soon loop throughout Charleston’s Medical District.
The greenway project is a collaboration between the City of Charleston, the Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center, Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) and Roper Hospital. The goal is to create an outdoor area filled with plants, flowers and trees dedicated to health and healing for patients, visitors and employees.
Charleston Mayor John Tecklenburg welcomed guests and praised the challenging work of those involved in making the greenway come to life.
The Mayor remarked that the Greenway will make this area of town “a more livable, healthy, more pleasant place for all and a beautiful place for the community.”
He also noted that this is one of several projects in development with the city that are working towards a more pedestrian and bike friendly community where residents learn to get around by other means than cars.
Often urban campus, like Charleston’s Medical District, face similar struggles—limited space, traffic, competing agendas. But it is easy to see how an initiative like this encourages people to get outside and enjoy the fresh air, which is something the Charleston climate can accommodate throughout all four seasons.
Acting Associate Director Felissa Koernig represented Charleston VAMC at the event, stating that the healing environment of the greenway reflects the high-quality care provided by each of the hospitals in Charleston’s Medical District.
“We understand the pressing need to balance more clinical space with an environment that promotes healing, healthy lifestyles and community engagement,” said Koernig. “The Greenway will be traversed each day by Veterans as they move between our campuses for their specialty care, and by members of our VA team—many of whom serve as clinicians and researchers at our hospital and MUSC.”
After the welcoming ceremony, guests were invited to stay and enjoy the celebration. Roti Rolls, Clean Eats and Platia food trucks provided healthy lunch options and Charlie T. Riverdog was on-site for photo-ops and high-fives. Vendor booth representation included Charleston Horticultural Society, Charleston Moves, Lowcountry Land Trust and Charleston Park Conservancy—all organizations connected to the overall mission of “the greening of Charleston.”
Completion of Phase 1 is just the beginning; there is still more work to do. Those involved in planning the Greenway are eager to continue the momentum, creating a space that encourages healing of both the body and soul in downtown Charleston.
Interested on what to expect from the full completed Greenway? Watch this video.