Wednesday, December 18, 2013
By BILL COLLINS
I am impressed by residents who contribute their time and talents to helping our town. Citizens regularly serve on a number of committees – such as the bike and pedestrian committee, commercial design review board, Board of Architectural Review, election commission, and the tree committee. Recently I asked a dozen folks to serve on an advisory committee as part of our year-long Master Plan project now under way. The Lawrence Group from Davidson, NC has the contract to prepare our plan. They have already conducted interviews with council and town staff. They provided guidelines that I used, along with help from staff, to select members for this Advisory Committee. Members are Joetta Bellinger, Deb Campeau, Con Chellis, Charlie Cuzzell (who will serve as chairman), Thomas Dion, Diane Frankenberger, Henry Givens, Beth Huggins, J.J. Messervy, Robin Miller, Jen Parvin and Robby Robbins. They held their first meeting on Dec. 9.
As this Master Plan process unfolds committee members will spread the word about the project and offer feedback to consultants on what they learn from you. A charette (a fancy French word for a planning and design workshop) will be held in February at the Cuthbert Center in Azalea Park. Advisory Committee members will be there.
I would also like to thank Larry Barnfield with Dorchester District Two Schools for putting together art students from Rollings School of the Arts, Summerville High, Ashley Ridge High and Fort Dorchester High and their respective instructors to undertake a project downtown at my request. Students designed, got approved by the Board of Architectural Review, and last month painted a mural on the cistern behind the Summerville-Dorchester Museum on Doty Avenue. Their handiwork brightens and enlightens us on that corner of a city parking lot. I’m hopeful it can be the first of similar projects to come. Our young folks are the future and it’s good to see them get involved.
Earlier this month we had crowds turn out for the tree lighting ceremony downtown and for the annual Christmas parade held on Dec.8. Both of those events require planning and a lot of effort. I thank the Flowertown Garden Club for sponsoring the tree lighting and the Arbor Day program on Dec. 6. I thank DREAM members and staff for sponsoring the parade and for the Third Thursday events that have become increasingly popular.
My wife, Margaret, and I enjoyed riding in the parade. But when we climbed on the back of that red convertible, Police Chief Bruce Owens suggested we take our shoes off and not put them on that back seat. That was an expensive car and we didn’t need to mess it up. We obligingly pulled our shoes off and I discovered I had put on one black sock and one blue sock. Margaret had a hole in her pantyhose and her toes were sticking out the end. We got a good laugh and y’all didn’t know that.
We are fortunate to have a downtown that is alive and well but a city that stretches from the other side of I-26 to the Ashley River and beyond. I can’t wait to see what our master plan proposes for our future – both in the short and long term.
On another front, the town put out a request for proposals to hotel developers who might be interested in building a boutique hotel in downtown Summerville on property the town purchased along Cedar Street more than a decade ago. We have had discussions with several groups about such a project but only one proposal was submitted by the deadline last Friday. We have just begun to evaluate it and I will keep you posted.
Let me wish you and your families a very Merry Christmas. Be safe. Enjoy your time together with family and friends and let’s look forward to a promising New Year.