District 10 candidates for Charleston City Council (Source: Live 5)
District 2 candidates for Charleston City Council (Source: Live 5)
WEST ASHLEY, SC (WCSC) -
In one week residents in West Ashley will head to the polls to cast votes for candidates who will represent two districts in a bustling Charleston area.
Charleston City Council seats for Districts 2 and 10 are up for grabs.
District 2 covers the Glenn McConnell Parkway and Marc Clark Express area, while District 10 is focused on the Shadowmoss neighborhood and Highway 61.
In District 10 Harry Griffin and Summer Massey face off against current council member Dean Riegel.
"I heard a lot of talk, and saw very little action as far as improvements for West Ashley,” said Summer Massey. “I've got the experience and knowledge."
Working with a civil engineering firm, Massey believes her past will help the future of West Ashley.
"We can't stop growth,” she said. “I wish we could, but we can't. So we've got to embrace growth and grow in the right areas in the right way. So we first have to address this flooding issue we have going on."
Fellow candidate Harry Griffin said that's also a goal of his.
"We've got the Church Creek Basin study that's getting ready to be completed, we're in a nine-month moratorium that is set to expire, and then we have the West Ashley Revitalization Commission that's working to figure out what the identity of West Ashley is going to look like moving forward," he said.
Having spent his childhood in the Shadowmoss neighborhood, Griffin said he's experienced everything other residents have gone through, and despite his young age, he's ready for the "challenge."
"I wanted to kind of bring a youth movement to the table and use my youth as a positive and represent a new look on District 10,” Griffin said. “Look at ambition and how we can move forward and be prosperous as a district and a city."
Another highly discussed issue is the West Ashley Circle.
“People are anxious to see what is going to go here,” Massey said. “What I’m hearing from residents and what they want is local bistros, local eateries, not chain. They want green spaces and a place to hang out with their family.”
“I want to work to bring some new ideas to the table,” Griffin said. “To not only correct the flooding issues, but also how can we get the Glenn McConnell extension finished, and how can we get 526 done.”
Current District 10 council member Dean Riegel did not respond to any of our messages about an interview Tuesday.
According to his Charleston City Council bio, Riegel was re-elected to the seat in November 2013. He also served as Mayor Pro Tem in 2012.
In District 2, Kevin Shealy faces off against current council member Rodney Williams.
One focus of Shealy's is curbing growth.
"We can't continue to throw as many homes in a certain area as we can,” he said. “We have to be very careful and have a long-term plan. A plan that is going to keep us from flooding, and make sure that we have good drainage plans in place. Make sure that we take care of the traffic issues we have."
Shealy added his relationship and connections with other council members will also help get issues on track with this area of West Ashley.
“The people of District 2 have expressed concerns and we need to make sure that’s taken back to city council,” he said. “We need to make sure those are a priority. We have a lot of great city council people representing West Ashley. They’re trying to do a lot of great things… I feel if I’m sitting in that seat right now, West Ashley has a stronger voice because of my relationships. I know I can work well with other city council members.”
Tuesday afternoon current District 2 council member Rodney Williams held a news conference.
Charleston Mayor John Tecklenburg, Mayor Pro Tem Mike Seekings, and West Ashley Revitalization Commission Chair Peter Shahid announced their support for Williams.
“I’m proud to say that I have a 100% record of supporting our city’s efforts to revitalize West Ashley, fix our broken traffic and drainage systems, and protect our residents’ quality of life,” Williams said. “And if the voters in District 2 give me the honor of continuing to represent them on Charleston City Council, they can count on me to keep doing just that.”
Williams also spoke about the Church Creek Basin study.
The basin drains a total area of nearly 5,000 acres located along the western side of the Ashley River.
The study, contracted with Weston & Sampson Engineering, looks to upgrade the basin hydraulic stormwater model and make recommendations to mitigate flooding in the future.
"I can tell you right now we're probably moving forward to extending the moratorium to be able to get some of the short-terms of this report,” Williams said. “[I’m] excited about this. One thing we do know is the basin has to flow better, the water has to flow better."
Williams said his experience is what is needed to help West Ashley keep moving forward.
“We make tough decision,” Williams said. “You have got to have emotional intelligence and balance, and listen to your colleagues, listen to staff, listen to leadership.”
“Rodney Williams knows how to bring council members together across district lines to get things done,” said Seekings. “That’s why he’s been so effective on issues like the Church Creek moratorium, and bringing new police and fire resources to West Ashley.”