Charleston mayor charges forward into 2017

CHARLESTON COUNTY, SC (WCSC) - It's been one year since Mayor John Tecklenburg took the reins from longtime Charleston Mayor Joseph Riley.
"There were a lot of people talking about me wearing somebody else's shoes, and I got my own," Tecklenburg said Wednesday.
And he's comfortable with how the shoe fits. "I love the job," Tecklenburg said. "What can I say?"

The mayor's inaugural year in office wasn't without setbacks, however, including a slow start for the West Ashley Revitalization project. The neighborhood's revitalization marked a core component from the 2015 election campaign.

"A couple of hiccups, but you know, at the end of the day really positive results West Ashley," Tecklenburg said. "We formed West Ashley Revitalization Commission that's going to start a planning process that's going to have a real vision for the future of West Ashley.  In the meantime, we've worked on doable projects and things like getting the West Ashley farmers market open, we'll be improving some parks this year."
"The big thing is we got means to pay for future improvements with the passage of the Tax Increment Finance District," Tecklenburg said. "It's going to take a little time for that cake to bake in order to be able to get income from that, but it gives West Ashley for the first time a real income source to be able to pay for future public improvement."

The mayor said revitalization plans will continue in the new year as will his advocating for the completion of the I-526 project.

"A year ago they were ready to cut the legs out from the project,' Tecklenburg said. The mayor most recently addressed the State Infrastructure Bank Board meeting in late December.

"At our last meeting, they, with some verification from the county and the city, they've certainly act like they're willing to keep our $420 million commitment in place," Tecklenburg said, adding he plans to continuing pushing the project forward.  
In the meantime, Tecklenburg said the passage of the half cent sales tax referendum marks a positive move towards needed roadway and transportation improvements.

Going forward into the new year, the mayor announced plans Wednesday to further focus on flooding and drainage issues. Tecklenburg said city several projects are in the works but a better, coordinated effort will be launched in 2017.
He'll also tackle affordable housing.

"I realize affordable housing is a really serious issue, some say at a crisis level," Tecklenburg said. Tent City was cleared in early 2016, yet homeless remains prevalent, according to the mayor, who said affordable housing needs to be address in the city, as well as across the region.
Another key focus for his second year? The mayor expressed plans to pay special attention to the city's future generations. Tecklenburg said he'll be spearheading kid-focused initiatives, including plans to improve the local education system.

"I really want to focus on all things relative to children and kids in our community," Tecklenburg said. "It's not always about leaving a better world for our children but think about leaving better children for our world."

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