Wednesday, January 15, 2014
As with anything that requires real work, the wheat will be separated from the chaff and better days are on our horizon. Much was accomplished in 2013 for our county, but it’s lining up for 2014 to be even better. Leadership will show. Good folks who want to see unity and change in our community will help make good things happen instead of looking for wedge issues to foster divisions. I promise to you I’ll keep my sleeves rolled up and continue work, and I ask the same of you.
A few important items of note to address issues of import:
Dorchester Road: The projected completion date is March 30, 2014. Everyone who has been on that road is aware an issue occurred with a failure of part of the roadbed that is being mitigated now. It’s important to note the mistake is not the county’s fault and will not be fixed on the taxpayer’s back. And while the Dorchester County Transportation Authority is ultimately in charge of the project I will work closely with everyone involved to help get us through this project as quickly as possible and keep people updated on news of import. The contractors are working diligently to finish and also having to work out a legal dispute, but the project is continuing to move on and should not be more financial burden on the taxpayer.
Bacon’s Bridge Road & Cook’s Crossroads – Take a ride out there – in five months, huge traffic relief has been delivered to the intersection. The intersection flows much better now and it is due to the Transportation Authority and the contractors for doing that section of the project first as the county requested to help address a huge safety issue and unclog probably the biggest chokepoint in the county. Through feedback, many folks tell me the commute from Legend Oaks into town is easily now 20 to 30 minutes shorter than it was prior. This will continue to improve as the additional lanes are opened over the next 18 months.
Delemar Highway to ARHS –Construction should begin for five lanes in the first half of 2014. The Dorchester County Legislative Delegation and State Rep. Jenny Horne deserves special praise for working in partnership with us to secure $13 million in state funds to complete this project that will improve safety for the commute to Ashley Ridge High School.
Old Fort Drive Extension – Work has started on a new road near Gilligan’s on Ladson Road. While this may seem inconsequential to some, this road will end up providing one of the best connections in the Oakbrook area. The road will provide a direct connect between Ladson and Dorchester roads as it’ll come to Old Fort Drive to Parlor Drive and delivering motorists near Wal-Mart – severely easing congestion chokepoint at Dorchester and Ladson roads intersection in the Oakbrook area. Currently the only way for residents to get out of those neighborhoods by Oakbrook Middle School or Wal-Mart is this road. This should be complete in about 12 more months.
Parks – The Ashley River park property may likely start seeing some work done to get this open in the first half of 2014. The county is taking baby steps to make sure this is done right and without burden on the taxpayer by using existing funds and reallocating inefficiently used resources to help make this a reality. When speaking recently with a similarly minded small government Congressman about parks he and I both agreed that a Teddy Roosevelt approach is warranted here. The land is an asset on the books of the county, it improves local property values, (Just look at the most expensive property in Manhattan, he said. It’s all fronted on Central Park) and provides a huge boost to local quality of life. This Ashley River park project will be the focus for the immediate future and creating a better system than has existed in the last decade to help better manage park funding and get the most return on investment for taxpayers going forward.
Economic Development – Dorchester County is positioned for some potential great moves in job creation. That is a core focus of mine to make sure we are more competitive in getting jobs here so we can be a great place to live, work, and play. Stay tuned this year.
As always, thank you for the honor and privilege of serving you.