Days 244-246: South Carolina: Noisette Navy Yard becoming something new…

Back in November, YERT was contacted by Jim Augustin of Noisette Navy Yards in North Charleston, South Carolina. We kept in touch and were pretty happy that we were able to visit and get a good look at several of the facets of this unique place… Once a working Navy Yard, the waiting space was taken on by Bill Augustin and John Knot, to be developed as a sustainable multi-use community resource center called Noisette

The first person we spoke with was Chris Fischer of Fischer Recycling. I have never seen so much broken glass in one place; it was beautiful, all separated into neat colored piles. Fischer said he started out selling t-shirts at the mall but, seeing restaurant employees carting out bottles to be recycled every night, he was inspired to get in on the recycling gig. He bought a cheap truck, started hauling people’s bottles for them, and a business just grew from there. He assured us that recycling IS lucrative, but he draws the line at plastics. He hates the stuff. I asked him if he had any idea why America doesn’t reuse bottles anymore – his answer: Plastics. All the bottle bills die immediately because the Plastics lobbies are so strong. It hurts their business if bottles are returned and reused. I didn’t even know there were bottle bills being drawn. Here is an interesting article on bottle bills

We also talked with three lovely women from the Navy Yard’s HUB Education Program.
The program’s self-described mission is “To enhance opportunities for Historically Underutilized Businesses (HUB) to participate in construction projects throughout South Carolina by providing education and training essential for managing a competitive construction company…” We found this fascinating in that the program specifically offers women and minorities an opportunity to get ahead in the field. All 3 women felt incredibly empowered by working with the program. WOOHOO!

Finally, we talked with Jim Schultz. Metal sculptor, welder, salty dog, chain smoker, interesting critter, an artist and a gentleman to me, Jim has been burned a few times trying to make a living as an artist but he loves and trusts Jim Augustin and Noisette, and has been working with them now for some time. We found him in his studio with his son, Jeremy, unloading a giant piece of metal he was calling an anvil…and I was banished to the car for fear of old 1940’s paint chips and etc flying around, my being pregnant and all. Jim took us over to the firehouse where we got to see one of his very large works – a welded metal palm tree over 9′ tall – and we also saw two of his pieces over at the Noisette office. My favorite was the fish…

All in all, it looks like the city of North Charleston still has a way to go but Noisette has taken a giant step in starting the ball rolling that is making people proud to be a part of the neighborhood. And we had a great dinner party hosted by our honorary (for now) 4th member, Erika Bowman, and her mama, where we got to meet John Knott as well as some of the other movers and shakers at Noisette. We were honored, and wish them well.

Leave a Reply