There is no community without unity and I believe that unity means involvement. As county councilman, I commit to listening to our community and taking the action needed to improve quality of life, infrastructure and communication/transparency.
Together, We Achieve More.
SCDOT is currently working on several projects that will affect District 6. https://www.526lowcountrycorridor.com/ This will be a project that adds a flyover at Magwood and Glenn McConnell. This is crucial, but so is adding a flyover going back towards 526 from Glenn McConnell. The 526 corridor project is a $billion plus project and adding the second flyover will cost approximately $20 million, but it is much needed.
More than anything, we need to continue to press forward with the completion of I-526. Our County Council has wavered over the years in their commitment to teaming up with the State Infrastructure Bank to finish the most important road project in Charleston County. Without finishing 526, we put every resident of Johns Island at risk of not being able to get off the Island. If nothing else, this is a public health issue. The price tag will be hefty, but saving lives and bettering the flow of traffic is worth it.
Locally, the widening of Glenn McConnell will start soon and will widen the major corridor for West Ashley to three lanes north and southbound from Magwood to Bees Ferry.
In North Charleston all the way to Ladson, we need to continue to incentivize business and travel along with Palmetto Commerce, which is a great corridor between Ashley Phosphate and Ladson. It is great for connectivity and has seen an influx of new business opportunities.
In terms of drainage infrastructure and flood mitigation, this is a regional problem. The local, state, and federal governments all need to come together to solve this issue. Many significant monetary numbers have been thrown around. It will take strong leadership and serious fiscal responsibility to develop a comprehensive plan to fix these issues.
In the West Ashley portion of District 6, a large portion of the homes run along the Church Creek Basin. This watershed has been neglected for years. Not only have we not done a very good job of cleaning out our ditches and drains, but also, houses have been built that should have never been built. FEMA is currently buying out homes like the ones in Bridgepointe in Shadowmoss because they have filed claims for flood damage upwards of five or six times. We need to look at our planning practices and make sure we do not allow projects that will negatively impact current or future residents. The City of Charleston has studied Church Creek through the Weston and Sampson Church Creek Study and the Dutch Dialogue Report, problems have been identified and potential costs have been discussed. Church Creek needs approximately $50 million to fix their current issues. Charleston County needs to consider adopting the new Stormwater Standards that the City of Charleston passed in Church Creek.
Communication and Transparency
Charleston County Council has created a perception over the past decade that they are not trustworthy. Examples of this are the wishy-washy decision making over the completion of 526, the Navy Hospital Debacle, and paying hush money to their recent outgoing County Administrator.
With the completion of 526, I cannot reiterate enough how badly we need to finish this. We need to show Columbia that we are united down here. Whenever our support wavers, so do theirs. When they see divisiveness or any thought of the project continuing to stall, they become another blockade to the project. We need our County Council to be united on the decision.
I will push for 526 to be finished. I look forward to seeing how the County will fund their portion of the project.
The Navy Hospital has been the biggest failure in the history of Charleston County. A $100 million dollar failure. Charleston County should have never bought the building. After they did, it was realized how in disrepair most of the building is. It will cost an estimated $66 million to fix it. Our elected representatives have to realize that their decision making costs our residents. They need to act in our best interest and protect our money, not spend it freely. They need to be tight with our money and spend it on projects that will benefit our quality of life.
Quality of Life
This is an issue that is cumulative of everything going around us. If we sit in traffic all day, worry about flooding of our properties, pay high taxes, we will be miserable and our quality of life will not be good. When life isn’t good, when residents feel neglected, a lot of things happen. The worst thing that can happen is they could sell their homes and move elsewhere. That equals lost tax revenue and tax revenue is the way the government is able to function.
One of the most important factors of being a successful public servant is interacting with your constituents and meeting their daily needs. Making sure their garbage gets picked up, even if that’s their municipality's job. Being able to get them in contact with the right people when they have issues. Making sure their ditches and drains are cleaned out and not clogged. The perception must be that you are an active participant.
Fighting for infrastructure, getting money appropriated to District 6 will be the biggest way to improve the quality of life to the residents of this area. Seeing new roads built and finished, seeing common sense development and economic drivers coming to the area, will give residents a sense of hope and faith. Those are things lacking when people think of local government.