Wednesday, June 26, 2013
Summerville has been popular with tourists for more than a hundred years. In the 1900’s we had hotels and inns like the fabulous Pine Forest, The Carolina Inn, and the Squirrel Inn. Florida had not become a destination at that point and visitors came here by train to play golf, to hunt and fish and even enjoy horse races.
In the spring our narrow, winding streets were jammed with carloads of day trippers who came to see the magnificent floral displays of blooming azaleas, dogwoods and towering pines bedecked with wisteria. Over the years I have listened to native sons tell me how they stood on the running boards and directed drivers through our neighborhoods to enjoy the flowers. A brick arch across Main Street welcomed visitors to the Flowertown in the Pines.
Tourism continues to be big in Summerville. Residents know how throngs gather here for the annual Flowertown Festival that is one of the top events in the Southeast.
Council and I are working to further enhance our appeal to visitors. Earlier this month I met with state Parks, Recreation and Tourism officials to discuss ways to make Colonial Dorchester more enticing. That colonial village dating to the 17th century is a true treasure and thousands of artifacts have been excavated but are not on display because there is no facility to do so.
Over the next few months you'll see bus trolleys roll through town as a tour guide describes our town and its history. This is a pilot project recommended by a Trolley Task Force which I appointed several weeks ago.
On the development front, staff and I have had discussions with folks interested in opening everything from food stores to restaurants and a boutique hotel. New apartments are going up and the Summerville Cricket Club is organizing.
Work is under way on improvements to the intersection of Cedar and Richardson and bids will be taken in July for a million dollars in road resurfacing projects to begin in late summer. Our parks personnel are clearing two quadrants at I-26 and 17-A to make way for some new landscaping.
A new software system in the codes office now makes it possible for builders to get permits online and schedule their inspections.
Our finance office has updated the town’s business license ordinance which is now under review by council for final approval.
I recently met with commercial property owners in the Oakbrook area to talk about annexation and how we might work together on projects to further energize that part of Summerville.
If you want to see a Norman Rockwell scene, come to Hutchinson Square this Sunday about 6:15 for the non-motorized parade for our young folks as we begin celebrations to mark our nation’s birthday. Bicycles, tricycles, wagons and scooters will be decked in red, white and blue bunting as our children parade around town square. And then on Thursday, July 4, our 4th of July fireworks show at the Gahagan ball fields gets under way around 9 p.m. The professional fireworks display accompanying the patriotic music always brings o-o-o-o-hs and ah-h-h-s from spectators.
Community spirit continues to reign in Summerville.