It’s been quite the six weeks as councilwoman-elect. I have been fortunate to travel around the city these past weeks meeting with residents, fellow elected officials, businesses, and advocacy groups to listen to different perspectives, gather data, and gain a deeper understanding from all sides on the issues Charlestonians face.
My fellow city council members and Mayor John Tecklenburg have been extremely generous with their time and getting me up to speed for a seamless transition, and my hope is that Charleston is excited about this coming council and knows my commitment to moving issues forward.
With a few weeks before I’m officially sworn in, I would like to share with you a few of the conversations I’ve had and the progress being made.
I have met with the South Carolina State Ports Authority, which significantly impacts District 1. On Daniel Island, we see and hear the port. Daniel Island and Cainhoy residents share the road with trucks traveling to and from the port, and cruise ships are right alongside our downtown residents. We spoke about many of the ideas and issues that have been raised recently and the feasibility for making some changes in the area. We discussed, among other things, moving the cruise ship terminal; the safety and future of the SPA land on Daniel Island; mitigating truck traffic with the expansion of inland ports and rail; implementing a new barge system to carry containers; and the port’s expansion across Charleston.
Ansonborough residents and Dominion Energy brought me into their conversation regarding underground wiring and the coordination among the two groups to obtain the appropriate easements for wires to be buried and shared-cost allocations. This has been an impressive, resident-led initiative, and I am proud to support the project’s completion. There are many benefits to underground wiring, including preventing lost business during power outages and enhancing a street’s safety and aesthetics.
I’ve also been involved in discussions with Daniel Island residents, neighborhood groups, the city’s public service and transportation departments, and Berkeley County regarding road maintenance in the area and into Cainhoy. Again, this is a resident-led initiative with all credit going to these residents who are working diligently — and voluntarily — to better their communities and open lines of communication between those involved.
Outside of District 1, I would be remiss if I did not mention the West Ashley residents who have so strongly advocated for community in recent weeks. Venturing to various meetings, including a wonderful discussion with West Ashley United, the West Ashley Revitalization Committee, and Charleston Moves’ reception marking the funding of the Ashley River pedestrian bridge, I continue to see first hand the importance of communication and bringing all parties together.
To be clear, a better understanding of portions of Charleston I do not experience day to day is vital because city council votes on matters affecting all districts, and what happens in one part of town affects all others. The residents of West Ashley could not be more gracious, and I so appreciate the time they have taken to be with me.
I also had a chance to meet with the Preservation Society of Charleston, various real estate developers, and civic patron David Rawle who helped create Theodora Park, a gorgeous oasis at the corner of George and Anson streets in District 1. What I find most encouraging is all of these individuals and groups want the same thing for Charleston: to preserve — and enhance — the culture and charm that makes our city so special. With each group, conversations centered around livability and making Charleston the best place to visit and to live.
This is an exciting time in Charleston. I have enjoyed meeting and learning from so many of you. I look forward to the opportunity to meet even more residents of this great city. It will be my absolute honor to serve you on Charleston City Council.
Marie Delcioppo is the councilmember-elect from District 1, which includes areas of downtown and Daniel Island.