Dancing has a wonderful way of taking us to a special place where we can embrace the moment and forget our worries, if only for a few minutes. It's enjoyable, healthy, and a great way to connect with others who share your passions. It can also be magical, like when you hear your favorite song and nail a high-energy dance routine that you've been practicing. But for new and seasoned dancers looking for classes in The Palmetto State, what options are there to consider?
If you're reading this and looking for a dance studio in South Carolina, look no further than Holy City Dance Center. From first-time beginners to experienced dancers with hours of on-stage experience, Holy City Dance has the leadership, facility, and classes to keep you moving to the music all year long.
When you choose Holy City Dance, you get much more than a place to practice new dance moves - you get access to an elite dancing experience in a warm, welcoming environment full of feel-good juju purpose-driven instruction. We believe that dance lessons and dancing in general help produce happy people. As such, we do everything in our power to provide a happy, positive studio in which dancers, new and old, can learn and express themselves.
Every member of our leadership team and staff is professional, talented, and, perhaps most importantly, fully committed to safely and lovingly guiding dancers. While we specialize in teaching dance lessons, we also focus on building character and kindness - especially for our younger students. At the end of the day, our goal is to combine the best aspects of hard work and dance to create a fulfilling and fun experience for all.
With a long list of both youth and adult dance lessons near McClellanville, SC, Holy City Dance Center offers something for everyone, whether you're looking to join a new performance team or a simple Mommy & Me program. Whether you are two or 102 years old, we want you in class having fun!!
Our class lessons include the following:
Wondering whether or not our dance center is the right fit for you and your family? Located at 1939 Clements Ferry Road in McClellanville, SC, we take a lot of pride in our facility and like to think that shows as soon as you walk through our front doors. With 4000 sq. ft. of space, we're able to provide the best everything you or your loved one needs for a high-quality dance education.
Our dance features many amenities that dancers love, including the following:
Each of our dance rooms is fully equipped with unique sub-flooring to help sustain joint health and to ensure our students can train in a safe environment.
We incorporate Vinyl Marley flooring in studios one and two to help reduce injury and promote better training. In studio three, we have applied special acoustic flooring made specifically for tap dancers. By providing enhanced flooring for our students, we can better ensure they enjoy a professional, purposeful dancing experience.
Need to wait while your little one or spouse finishes dancing classes? Our lobby is spacious and has free high-speed WiFi, so you can surf the web or get work done while you wait.
When our students aren't in class, they have their own lounge with lockers where they can change and enjoy each other's company.
Pull up a chair in our lobby and get a peek into our process! Whether you're a student, parent, or spouse, our livestreams are fun and educational to watch.
At Holy City Dance Center, we're proud to offer dancing classes for all ages, from recreational programming for very young students to programs for teens and adults. Thinking we might not have a class for you if you're a beginner? Think again! No matter your experience level, we've got a dance program to help you grow.
A few of our most popular dance programs include the following:
Our recreational youth programs are a great way for kids to learn about dance while practicing balance, motor skills, discipline, and much more.
For toddlers who love to dance and move around, we offer a 45-minute Creative Movement class that focuses on basic ballet movements. This class is designed for boys and girls between the ages of 2 and 3 years old and aims to help fine-tune gross motor skills while building a passion for dance at an early age. To ensure that our young dancers stay engaged throughout the year, we integrate music, props, and seasonal themes into our lessons. Moms are welcome to join in on the fun or simply watch their little ones shine.
If your little one is between the ages of three and four and interested in dance, these hour-long classes are a great way for them to learn about different styles. Props, music, and games are still incorporated, but with added technical elements that will expand their dance knowledge and prepare them for a successful dance career. During each class session, students will focus on both style offerings and should ensure they have the necessary shoes and attire for each.
This package mimics our Pre-K Combo with all of the same features but is tailored to older children between the ages of five and seven.
For children aged five to seven, this 45-minute class offers a fun and lively introduction to hip-hop dance. While training, students will learn the fundamentals and vocabulary of hip-hop in an upbeat environment.
These dance classes near McClellanville, SC, are best suited for beginner and intermediate students between the ages of eight and eighteen.
For those who wish to delve into the intricacies of tap technique, these classes run for 45 minutes and cover all the fundamental tap moves. As students progress to higher-level classes, they will build on their skills and expand their repertoire. The classes include warm-up exercises, center-floor work, across-the-floor combinations, and complex choreography.
For students dedicated to improving their jazz technique's precision and intensity, these classes are the perfect fit. The classes run for a duration of 45 minutes and cover a range of activities, including a rigorous warm-up with a focus on flexibility training, center-floor work, across-the-floor combinations, and sharp choreography.
Our ballet classes are structured to help students master classical Vaganova techniques through barre exercises, center floor work, across-the-floor combinations, flexibility training, and explanations of ballet terminology. Each class is 1.5 hours long.
These 45-minute classes are designed for students who love to have fun and be the center of attention. They are perfect for lively, cheerful, and enthusiastic learners who want a welcoming and secure environment to express their energy. The classes concentrate on teaching the basics of footwork, body rolls, dynamics, and other essential dance skills.
If you're a student looking to express yourself through contemporary dance, these 45-minute classes are perfect for you. They focus on exploring the connection between emotion and movement, incorporating elements of lyrical dance, floor work, partnering, and improvisation. Through these methods, you'll be able to experience a sense of free movement and develop your own unique contemporary dance style.
These classes focus on building strength and flexibility for dancers while prioritizing injury prevention. Consisting of 45 to 60-minute sessions, taking this class one to two times a week can improve dancers' movement quality, style-specific skills, endurance, and prolong their dance careers.
Other recreational dance programs at Holy City Dance Center include:
If you're looking for a dance studio near McClellanville, SC, that offers dance lessons for working adults, look no further than Holy City Dance Center. Our adult dance classes cater to all ages and abilities, from beginners to advanced. We aim to create a free and open environment where adult dancers can express themselves.
It's time to get those jazz hands moving! This 45-minute beginner-intermediate jazz class includes warm-up, strength training, center floor work, across-the-floor combinations, and sharp choreography.
This one-hour ballet class focuses on the power and accuracy of ballet technique. The class includes a well-planned barre warm-up, exercises for stretching and strengthening, center floor work, combinations across the floor, and ballet choreography.
This class is designed for those who are new to line dancing or need to refresh their skills. We will review choreographed steps and dances at a slower pace, covering the basics of line dancing and common dance terms. Each week, we will also learn at least one new dance.
Additional adult dance programs offered by Holy City Dance Center include:
Hip-Hop - This fun class features a structured walkthrough of the high-energy dance techniques known in hip-hop dancing.
Contemporary - Learn how to show emotion through dancing while adopting a free sense of stylization and movement.
Tap - If you're a beginner or intermediate dancer craving a journey that explores the precision and complexity of tap dancing, this class is for you.
At Holy City Dance Center, we welcome students of all ages and experience levels. In fact, many of our students come to us with little-to-no dancing experience. We work closely with these students to help develop their dancing fundamentals and gradually incorporate new techniques and styles. If you know that you want to begin dancing but feel like the learning curve is too high, don't worry. We can help build your skill and confidence step-by-step with beginner dance lessons near McClellanville, SC.
To help you along the way and expedite the learning process, keep these easy-to-implement tips in mind.
Whether you're a beginner or a seasoned pro, the secret to becoming a great dancer is having the desire to excel. Always remember the reasons why you love dancing, as it will motivate you in moments of discouragement or lethargy. Ignite your passion by watching dance performances, chatting with fellow dancers, attending dance events, or simply listening to music that gets you moving.
Dancing without taking the time to warm up is sort of like baking biscuits without preheating your oven. You might be anxious to jump in and start, but doing so can leave you deflated and unprepared. Dancing with a cold and stiff body can be unpleasant and may lead to muscle injuries. Therefore, it's advisable to warm up and stretch before dancing. Doing so will help you move with greater range and control and also reduce the risk of injuries.
Always keep in mind that dancing is supposed to be a fun activity, not a burden or a source of anxiety. Dancing should be an outlet for those negative emotions! When you come for lessons at Holy City Dance Center, you can look forward to a fun, inviting atmosphere. No matter how many (or how few) dance moves you know, you can always have a good time learning how to dance with the right instructors and partners. Relax, have fun, and go with the flow. You'll be happy you did.
To improve your dancing skills, it's best to narrow down the specific styles you want to learn and focus on their foundational movements. One thing that all dance styles have in common is the "groove." You may not know it, but you probably groove out naturally to music all the time. Do you bob your head while driving or sway side to side at the club? If so, you've got the groove. Practicing grooves and becoming more comfortable with your body's movements will help you look better while dancing, whether in class, at a performance, or anywhere else.
When you first start dancing, it's common to want to dance with the same partner or friend. However, this can become boring over time. To avoid this, try dancing with a variety of people, especially when you're still learning the dance. Each person's interpretation of the music will give you a new perspective on the dance. You may worry about dancing with someone who is more advanced or less skilled than you. However, dancing with different people can help you practice being a good leader or follower. Every dance can be an opportunity to learn and grow. That's why, at Holy City Dance Center, we encourage multiple dance partners in applicable programs.
They say that repetition is key when it comes to learning a skill, and that's especially true when dancing. Practicing techniques over and over helps them become ingrained in your muscle memory, allowing you to execute them effortlessly. For instance, Popping exercises can enhance your control and control. House Step routines can improve your footwork and make you more comfortable on the dance floor. Whatever the dance style, start by nailing down and repeating elementary techniques. Before you know it, you'll be executing full routines from muscle memory.
Whether you're looking for an extracurricular outlet for your child or want to learn how to tap dance in your 40s, our dance studio near McClellanville, SC, is the premier choice for quality dance lessons. Our instructors are passionate about bringing your dancing dreams to life and are committed to providing you with an experience like no other. If you're ready to dance with your heart, your feet are sure to follow. All it takes is a little guidance and inspiration. Contact our dance studio today and take the first step toward a true dancing education tomorrow.
MCCLELLANVILLE — A longtime dining spot in this tiny coastal Charleston County fishing village is under new ownership.A firm called KC3 LLC, owned by Coastal Bus Line businessman Troy Hagemann of Awendaw, bought the 1.5-acre Bent Rod ...
MCCLELLANVILLE — A longtime dining spot in this tiny coastal Charleston County fishing village is under new ownership.
A firm called KC3 LLC, owned by Coastal Bus Line businessman Troy Hagemann of Awendaw, bought the 1.5-acre Bent Rod restaurant site and business at 10024 Highway 17 for $730,000 on April 4, according to Jim Moring of restaurantbrokers.info, who handled the sale for the buyer and seller.
On the same day, Hagemann kept the land but sold the restaurant business to Jami Reavis of Awendaw, owner of Charleston Landscaping, for an undisclosed sum, Moring said.
Reavis plans to reopen the 1,872-square-foot restaurant under the same name, possibly as early as next week, and focus on a barbecue-centric menu. Seafood items still will be available, along with pizza from an outdoor wood-fired oven.
The opening date and hours aren’t quite set as Reavis works to fill out his work crew and get a few last-minute touchups completed, but he plans to be open after 4 p.m. initially before expanding with a lunch menu and daily service.
“I want to be open as much as possible,” he said.
Ahead of the recent business transaction, Reavis was busy putting a fresh coat of paint on the building inside and out, adding some more outdoor tables, expanding the parking area, installing some new TVs inside and in the outdoor tiki bar, putting in a new sound system and creating a game area for cornhole, horse shoes and other outdoor activities.
Charleston is better-positioned in the commercial real estate sector than much larger U.S. markets to stave off economic distress that could result from higher borrowing costs and the unsettled office sector after the pandemic.
That’s the assessment of industry experts who specialize in office, industrial and retail properties.
“There are more tailwinds than headwinds (for Charleston),” said Manus Clancy, senior managing director at Trepp, a New York City-based financial information service for the commercial real estate industry.
“Charleston is strong across all property types,” he said. “You are punching above your weight when it comes to the metrics.”
Clancy noted “a dramatic difference in geography” across the nation for areas affected by the fallout of the shift toward the hybrid model of in-person and remote office work policies.
Large cities, such as San Francisco, Baltimore and Seattle, where the quality-of-life quotient is offset by long commutes, are not faring well after the global health crisis.
“This puts cities like Charleston, Greenville, Austin and Salt Lake City in the driver’s seat to attract more industries,” Clancy said.
He pointed out housing costs are higher in Charleston than most of the rest of South Carolina, but compared to many large metro areas it’s more affordable and the quality of life is attractive in the Lowcountry.
He also noted the area’s labor force is strong and increasingly better educated.
“People want to flock to places where their students can be educated,” Clancy said. “In Charleston, you have the ability to make that case.”
Clancy added the financial industry has not fully recovered from the spring scare instigated by several high-profile bank failures, and credit, especially for the office sector, is going to be harder to come by.
Still, he noted borrowing continues in the commercial real estate market, but at roughly half the pace as last year.
The office market is showing the most stress, with delinquencies of commercial mortgage-backed securities more than doubling from less than 2 percent in December to about 5.5 percent nine months later.
In the Charleston area, vacancy rates for office space average just under 12 percent, based on composite local market reports for the July-September period from the commercial real estate firms of Avison Young, Colliers and Lee & Associates.
The latter firm said it sees an uptick in office occupancy in 2024 as more employers require staffers to show up in person more often. Avison Young echoed the move next year to the hybrid arrangement.
Colliers cited the updated working environments and ease of access as the drivers of the office market, and the firm projected a flattening of vacancies by the first quarter of next year.
Lee Allen, executive managing director for commercial real estate firm JLL in Charleston, said the local office sector never got overbuilt and the risk is lower for newer, more creative offerings.
“What we have seen in the market is a flight to quality,” Allen said.
Business and other employers that are set on bringing workers back to the office two to three days a week want to elevate their experience with a top-notch working environment to keep top talent from jumping ship.
“Companies are saying, ‘If we are going to ask them to come back, we want to have a place where they want to be,’” Allen said.
He pointed to the 12-story Morrison Yard office development, where JLL is a tenant and handles leasing, as an example, saying it’s 85 percent leased after opening earlier this year.
Up the street on Morrison Drive, the three-story Morris, which opened around mid-year, is about a third occupied and more new prospects are looking at the property, said co-owner Thomas Nakios.
“We are seeing a tremendous amount of activity,” he said. “It’s picked up a lot in the last 60 days. I’m glad we are not in one of the larger markets.”
Nakios noted the Charleston region maintained an equilibrium in office space for the most part because of a drop in demand from tenants before the pandemic shut down much of the in-person economy in early 2020.
Stephen Smith, managing director in South Carolina for commercial real estate firm CBRE, said he’s noticed a slightly more guarded approach for prospective tenants but space is still being leased.
“Everybody wants to be in the nicest, newest space in office markets across South Carolina,” he said.
“How long have you been in business here?” I asked the proprietor of T.W. Graham & Co., an unassuming seafood restaurant located in a historic storefront on the oak-shaded main street of the coastal village of McClellanville.“We’ve been in business since 1894” he said, and then, with a grin that made it more than an afterthought, “but I’m not the original owner.”Do tell.I was speaking with Patrick Runey, who busied himself greeting patrons and chatting with friends as t...
“How long have you been in business here?” I asked the proprietor of T.W. Graham & Co., an unassuming seafood restaurant located in a historic storefront on the oak-shaded main street of the coastal village of McClellanville.
“We’ve been in business since 1894” he said, and then, with a grin that made it more than an afterthought, “but I’m not the original owner.”
I was speaking with Patrick Runey, who busied himself greeting patrons and chatting with friends as the Saturday evening crowd began to gather for dinner and conversation.
T.W. Graham & Co. is a fixture in the small fishing village, and being only a stone’s throw from docks crowded with shrimp boats, it serves up an offering of fresh seafood for lunch and dinner almost daily. With my plate covered with freshly prepared shrimp, hand-shredded cole slaw, fries and hushpuppies, Patrick described how all of this came to be.
“I am from Charleston, and when the owners were looking to sell, I told them our plans and they knew we were the right buyer. They had other offers but did not want it to go to just anyone.”
Originally a general store, T.W. Graham & Co. has served the people of McClellanville in many ways during the 128 years it has sat on Pinckney Street. Today, it continues to be place where villagers and out-of-towners alike gather, and life for the little waterfront community rolls on.
McClellanville lies on the edge of a vast network of marshy creeks and rivers that stretches to the horizon, where the old lighthouse stands on the point of Cape Romain. Founded in the 1850s as a seaside escape for the swamp-haunted plantation owners of the Santee River region, the town quickly became a productive fishing village.
Today, it has become a destination for day tourists and overnight visitors who come to the little settlement between Charleston and Georgetown, with a desire to escape the ordinary and enjoy the peace and quiet of life under the live oaks.
When you visit McClellanville, you will encounter a place that is like a picture of Lowcountry days gone by. A network of quiet streets connect frame houses that range from two-story farmhouse-style to small, comfortable cottages. A dozen classic storefronts stand along Pinckney Street, where you can purchase hand-made local gifts and items of coastal decor, while being welcomed by friendly locals who are glad for your visit.
A crossroads in the center of the village is home to neighborhood churches, including the historic chapel of ease for the parish church of St. James Episcopal. The gingerbread trim reflects the 19th century Lowcountry style. Here, the congregation worships each Sunday, and also maintains the old brick church of St. James Santee near Hampton Plantation.
A drive to the end of Pinckney Street brings you to the Village Museum, a cultural center where the history of the town and region are preserved. A town dock will give you a view down Jeremy Creek to the vast marshy wilderness stretching to the Atlantic, or upstream to the spires and nets of the shrimp fleet, docked at the seafood company off Oak Street.
The boats form a backdrop for the Seaman’s Memorial, dedicated to the memory of those who lost their lives while working the coastal waters of South Carolina. It’s a reminder of the cost of braving sea and storm to bring home each day’s catch.
You can cap off your visit with a delicious meal at T.W. Graham & Co. or at one of the other great restaurants in town, local institutions like the McClellanville Diner, The Bent Rod, and Buckshots provide an array of seafood, comfort food or more adventurous fare to please any palate.
As I finished my meal and prepared to return home, I only wished that I had more time to explore and enjoy this quiet, beautiful town. Whether you stay in McClellanville for a day, or simply visit while passing through, you will feel very much at home.
McClellanville is located off US. 17 between Charleston and Georgetown.
A drive of a little over two hours will take you through Charleston and along the wide, lonely coast highway. McClellanville is located 30 miles above Charleston and just before you cross the Santee River. As you come within the town limits you will see three of the popular local restaurants, each open at various days and times to accommodate your appetite or itinerary.
To enter the village proper, take a right onto Pinckney Street, and follow its winding track into town. You will soon come to the business district where shops and T.W. Graham & Co. welcome you, or you can continue beyond to visit the museum, churches and the often-busy waterfront along Jeremy Creek.
There are many things to do and explore nearby as well. You can explore nature at Santee Coastal Reserve, discover history at Hampton Plantation State Historic Site, or arrange for an excursion by boat to visit the historic lighthouse at Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge.
For more information on the town and its offerings, visit the town of McClellanville homepage at https://www.mcclellanvillesc.org or call T.W. Graham & Co. at (843) 887-4342.
McCLELLANVILLE, S.C. (WCSC) - People who live in the McClellanville area say mosquitoes are becoming a real frustration as Charleston County works to get their volume under control.Jon Loveland, the assistant manager for the Charleston County Mosquito Program, says they’re getting calls countywide, but McClellanville is the worst spot right now.“As soon as you open the car doors it’s like 10 million of them,” Aziarae Green said. “They eat you into the car, they just eat you alive.”Joe ...
McCLELLANVILLE, S.C. (WCSC) - People who live in the McClellanville area say mosquitoes are becoming a real frustration as Charleston County works to get their volume under control.
Jon Loveland, the assistant manager for the Charleston County Mosquito Program, says they’re getting calls countywide, but McClellanville is the worst spot right now.
“As soon as you open the car doors it’s like 10 million of them,” Aziarae Green said. “They eat you into the car, they just eat you alive.”
Joe Blake has lived in McClellanville for 65 years. He said he’s never seen the mosquitoes this bad.
“I can’t get out to mow my yard,” Blake said. “My grandson couldn’t go to school this morning because the mosquitoes are so bad.”
Blake said he bought 10 cans of bug spray in two days just to come outside.
McClellanville resident John Kooper said the bugs are aggravating, but he also worries about the disease that the bugs can carry.
“I stay covered up and I spray what I’ve got exposed, hands, face, neck whatever,” Kooper said. “Put a hat on, beat them to death when I can and that’s basically all you can do.”
Loveland said they’re aware of the situation and put up an airplane Sunday morning to treat what they could, and they also had ground trucks in the area Sunday night spraying. He says they will be out again Monday night.
McClellanville is particularly challenging to treat because there are certain areas that are restricted and cannot be treated, like thousands of acres of protected wetlands, he said. They’re also restricted to using one product in the Francis Marion National Forest. Mosquitoes can build resistance to that.
Loveland said a lot of the issue stems from Hurricane Ian and a large amount of rainfall.
“Most of these mosquitoes we’re seeing in the northern part of the county are saltmarsh mosquitoes,” Loveland said. “So really the only thing they’re going to be able to do is wear long sleeves, try to avoid being outside at dusk and dawn and use a repellant with Deet in it.”
Charleston County residents can click here to request spraying or call 843-202-7880. Residents can also text “hello” to Citibot at 843-800-4121 and ask to request a mosquito control spray.
Copyright 2022 WCSC. All rights reserved.
Is Gus a good boy?To his 79-year-old Marine veteran owner, the 130-pound German shepherd is a calming force who helps him keep his balance and live a life that feels closer to normal. To his neighbors in McClellanville, the dog is a good reason to avoid Baker Street. More than once, he has charged toward people out on walks with their dogs to attack. One man and his pet required stitches after. Another said she cracked a rib falling after Gus latched on to her small dog.Doug Holsclaw said receiving the notice in April that Gus ...
Is Gus a good boy?
To his 79-year-old Marine veteran owner, the 130-pound German shepherd is a calming force who helps him keep his balance and live a life that feels closer to normal. To his neighbors in McClellanville, the dog is a good reason to avoid Baker Street. More than once, he has charged toward people out on walks with their dogs to attack. One man and his pet required stitches after. Another said she cracked a rib falling after Gus latched on to her small dog.
Doug Holsclaw said receiving the notice in April that Gus was banned from living in town hit him almost as hard as losing his brother 42 years ago. He is suing to bring Gus home.
The case will largely boil down to which description of Holsclaw’s 5-year-old companion sticks.
Gus is a service dog. Gus is a vicious dog. He can’t be both.
McClellanville, a small fishing town of about 600 people about 40 miles north of Charleston, allows dogs to roam freely. Rutledge Leland, who has been mayor for more than 40 years, said the town’s dog laws come up in meetings nearly every year.
The town has long considered a leash law, holding referendums on the matter over the years, Leland said. But most residents remain opposed.
“We tend to be a community, we wanted people to have dogs, but obviously we don’t want them to interfere with people’s day-to-day activities,” he said.
Rutledge declined to talk about Gus because of the pending lawsuit, but said his behavior has been an ongoing problem.
“It’s just a bad situation,” he said. “We’ll try to be fair.”
After a resident asked the town to reconsider a leash law in May 2021, Cecil Mills told Town Council about his encounter with Gus as he was walking on Baker Street. Mills pursued charges. Holsclaw paid restitution and the case was ultimately dropped. Mills said he doesn’t doubt Holsclaw’s claim that he needs a service dog. But he doesn’t believe Gus qualifies, and he still doesn’t allow his grandchildren to walk in that direction because he’s afraid of what might happen if Holsclaw’s other dog got loose.
MCCLELLANVILLE — Larry Mcclellan can look from the porch of his century old farmhouse out across Jeremy Creek where the shrimp boats rock under their hanging nets.Mcclellan captains one of the boats there and his son captains another. The creek, which leads to the rich Bulls Bay shellfish waters, is his livelihood and his life. The hub of it all, where the boats are moored, is the Carolina Seafood dock.That’s how integral Carolina Seafood owner Rutledge Leland’s business is to McClellanville, the modest fishin...
MCCLELLANVILLE — Larry Mcclellan can look from the porch of his century old farmhouse out across Jeremy Creek where the shrimp boats rock under their hanging nets.
Mcclellan captains one of the boats there and his son captains another. The creek, which leads to the rich Bulls Bay shellfish waters, is his livelihood and his life. The hub of it all, where the boats are moored, is the Carolina Seafood dock.
That’s how integral Carolina Seafood owner Rutledge Leland’s business is to McClellanville, the modest fishing village north of Charleston.
The seafood dock is the cultural heart of the place. And it could be lost.
Mcclellan was among a roomful of town residents who turned out at a Charleston County Greenbelt meeting last week to support an East Cooper Land Trust request for funding to conserve the Carolina Seafood dock as an open space and cultural heritage worth protecting with sales tax dollars, but also as a business.
The support “is almost unanimous in this town,” Mcclellan said.
Traditional commercial fishing docks like Leland’s are disappearing across the state because of the niche nature of the business in an international market, as well as development pressures on the lucrative waterfront properties.
But in a region where tasty fresh shrimp, oysters and finfish are sought-after delicacies, commercial dock space is critical for offloading, fueling, taking on ice and provisions and conducting general maintenance.
Saving the docks has become a priority for local groups such as the East Cooper trust, which is working with Leland and other McClellanville residents to pay Leland $1.3 million to put the space under a conservation easement.
Mixing business and nature isn’t a conventional project for conservation groups. But they are turning more to public-private community efforts to conserve the traditions of a place as growth and expansion is seeing the region become more urban. The move has drawn criticism as costing the public too much money in relation to conserving less urban tracts.
Catherine Main, the East Cooper trust director, points to other private-public waterfront conservations seen in Okracoke, North Carolina, and Portland, Maine.
“It has been done before and has been done before successfully,” she said. “We look at culture and history as important to protect the natural and scenic character of the community.”
The trust’s proposal is to put into conservation easement the dock’s 2 acres while opening 1 acre as a community park with a sort of riverwalk working waterfront and restricting commercial use of the other acre to fishing. The Greenbelt committee asked them to resubmit the proposal with more emphasis on the conservation.
The trust plans to go back to the committee with more details and a park design that would include open spaces under live oaks and spots to view wildlife such as dolphins and pelicans.
Leland would add $337,000 to the effort. The conservation payment wouldn’t be a windfall for him, he said. The dock needs to be rebuilt, the seafood house renovated with more advanced equipment.
Carolina Seafood handles 70 percent of the shrimp that comes into Charleston County, which is 30 percent of the shrimp that comes into South Carolina, according to state figures. It is one of the last of a handful of seafood houses left in the state.
The dock is the main mooring for the local commercial boats. A second commercial dock in town has been sold and its seafood house is operating on a lease. The expectation is the property eventually will be developed residentially.
Already the shellfish boats motor down Jeremy Creek past waterfront home docks that cost more than the boat captains’ houses. They pass yacht-size sports fishing boats docked where commercial fishing boats used to tie off.
Leland is 75 years old. He has made a life at the dock since his father brought him down there as a toddler in a life jacket nearly as big as he was.
Running a seafood house, negotiating prices for varying catches in a market that constantly shifts with supply and demand “is not an easy job to put anybody in,” he said.
“I’ve wanted for years to do something to commit this property to local fishermen. I never could come up with a plan,” he said. “There are a lot of people in town who depend on this dock for a paycheck.”
Leland has talked with the captains about forming a community co-op to run the place and hopes the conservation of the property will help them do it.
He, like everyone else in McClellanville, sees the massive growth in the Charleston area and new homes going up in town.
“It’s a reality. You have to deal with realities,” Leland said. “I would like to see this place set aside for commercial fishing. I’d just hate to see that go away, and I’m going to do everything I can to help keep it.”