CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Charleston City Council had a surprise waiting for retiring Mayor Joe Riley at Tuesday's meeting.
Council members adopted a resolution to rename Waterfront Park in honor of Riley. It will be renamed Riley Waterfront Park.
The mayor's family was ushered into council chambers as well, their presence also a surprise.
"What you all are bearing witness to is an attempt to surprise the best in America," said Mayor Pro-Tem Keith Waring, as he presented the resolution to Charleston City council.
There were tears in the crowd along with a standing ovation.
Riley thanked council for resolution, something council members called a symbol of his fingerprint.
Mayor-elect John Tecklenburg was in the front row of the packed room.
"If there's anything Mayor Riley has done in his tenure is to beautify the public realm of Charleston," said Tecklenburg. "And, Waterfront Park is kind of the epitome."
"If you look at all the things Mayor Joe Riley has done, it exemplifies from infants all the way to senior citizens," said Council member Keith Waring.
He said there are plans to put a statue of Mayor Riley in the park.
The funding will likely come from private donors and fundraisers, to honor Mayor Riley's service to the holy city.
The 12-acre park, which was completed in 1990, is one of the Charleston peninsula's most visited parks, according to the Charleston Parks Conservancy. The park covers more than 1,000 feet along the coast.
The park features a drinking fountain, floral garden displays, and wi-fi access.
Riley is wrapping up his tenth term as mayor of the Holy City. He assumed office in December of 1975.
The official site of the Charleston RiverDogs is also named in Riley's honor. Nicknamed "The Joe," Joseph P. Riley, Jr. Park on Fishburne Street is a stadium that holds 6,000 people.