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Tonight in downtown Charleston, a public meeting was held to discuss large-scale developments for the city's Upper Peninsula area.

They're calling it the Charleston Upper Peninsula Initiative, and if the 865 acre area along the Morrison Drive corridor gets developed, many say it could bring new life to the city.

Director of Planning for the city of Charleston, Tim Keane, told News 2, “When you think about a really good urban neighborhood - no matter where it is - it’s going to have all of that: employment, retail, restaurants, even bars in this part of the city. It will have everything."

On Thursday night, over 100 people came to a public meeting at the International Longshoremen’s Association Local 1422 to hear from city planners about the project, and to give their own ideas and suggestions for the initiative.

Dr. Doctor Aal-Anubia just opened a dental clinic in the Upper Peninsula and said, “They were looking for solutions. They opened up the floor and I like it when I come into an environment where the cup is half full."

As outlined in the city's plans, the area presents plenty of space for denser development. Officials hope to make the Upper Peninsula a vibrant place where people want to live, work and play.

As the area transitions from its heavy industrial and commercial roots to modern work and living space, affordable housing was a theme of the evening. Reverend Alma Dungee told News 2, “I would love to see more affordable housing because it's needed." Keane added, "There absolutely has to be diversity of housing in this area for low income people, middle income people, upper income...all kinds of people, that there be housing for everybody."

City planning officials say the plans are still in the very early stages of development and before they go to the city planning board, there will be several other meetings, just like this one, to discuss a more coherent plan that everyone can more fully understand.

“Well this is a great start because we had so many people here. Now we can engage with them and others and their neighbors to really make a plan that everyone understands and supports," said Keane.

For more information or to contact officials with the project, head to www.CharlestonUP.com

Photo Credit: Mark VanDyke Photography Shutterstock