CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Charleston Mayor John Tecklenburg delivered his second State of the City address Tuesday.
It provides a reflection of the last year, but also a look ahead to future goals.
City residents and leaders gathered at Founder's Hall at Charlestown Landing for the mayor's address. It's the first time the speech was presented in West Ashley.
When Mayor Tecklenburg came into office he had his mind set on transforming West Ashley among other initiatives.
West Ashley resident Meredith Demetre is looking forward to what's to come from this new emphasis.
"I think it's great that everyone has been enthusiastic about the revitalization of West Ashley and this is just further proof the meeting in West Ashley tonight," Demetre said.
In his first year in office Mayor Tecklenburg established a West Ashley Revitalization Commission to guide the area's development.
"West Ashley, which has become the center of the single largest and most comprehensive renewal and revitalization effort in our city's history," Tecklenburg said.
Mayor Tecklenburg said the state of Charleston is one of optimism and unity as people work together to improve the quality of life.
Charleston resident Natasha Akery says she came out to hear the address to learn more about the city's efforts and plans.
"I definitely feel happy about some of the initiatives he has taken especially about affordable housing, gentrification is an issue," Akery said. "The mayor is noticing that as a problem and taking steps to rectify that."
While projects are underway to improve transportation, roads, public transit, flooding and draining, he says public safety is number one.
"Over the past twelve months, our outstanding police chief, Greg Mullen, has led a series of initiatives that are already making our citizens safer and more secure, and our community stronger and more united," Tecklenburg said.
Through the Illumination Project there are now 86 specific strategies to help strengthen citizen and police relations. The strategies were developed by a collaboration among of more than 1200 community leaders, citizens and police officers.
The mayor says this year will bring a hiring of a full time business specialist to focus on minority and women owned businesses throughout the city.
"The recognition of the arts was really really wonderful and also the focus on minority and women business," Akery said.
The mayor is hopeful that the completion of I-526 will move forward, calling it an essential project. Proponents say it will ease traffic and provide improved connectivity in Charleston.
"I'm really excited about what I've seen and I look forward to seeing what the future holds," Demetre said.
Another area of focus the mayor spoke about was improving the quality of life.
"In addition, working in partnership with county and state officials, we have been able to move forward with several road projects in the last twelve months, including the widening of Harborview and Clements Ferry roads, improvements to the corner of Folly and Camp roads and the intersection of Highway 61 and Sam Rittenberg, the addition of a much-needed left turn lane at Bee Street, and signal re-timing for West Ashley traffic lights," Tecklenburg said.
Last year, the newly-elected mayor named the following areas of focus in a plan to not only help ensure Charleston's reputation as the best city in the nation to visit, but also the best in which to live, work, worship and raise a family:
- Citywide livability
- Transportation and public transit
- Economy, Jobs and housing
- More responsive city services
- Specific initiatives to improve each area of the city, from West Ashley to the Peninsula and from Daniel Island to James and Johns Islands