Brownsville residents, Mayor hold community meeting

  • Friday, March 7, 2014

Taylor Griffith/Journal Scene From left, Mayor Bill Collins answers questions from members of the community while Louis Smith, founder of the Community Resource Center, moderates.

Residents of Brownsville eager to get face-time with the mayor filled the depot building at Doty Park Tuesday night, for a Town Hall-style meeting.

Mayor Bill Collins spent an hour answering questions from members of the community, who represented a variety of concerns.

Several residents spoke of the new interchange to be built on I-26 at mile 197, which will feed into the Brownsville community, and road improvements in general.

Most had concerns about putting excess traffic into the area.

The town population has grown to around 80,000 residents, Mayor Collins said. “We just don’t have the road structure, sidewalks, any infrastructure, really, to handle that.”

He explained the new interchange will incorporate several new road structures, including an expansion of Maple Street and the construction of Bear Island Expressway. He encouraged residents to stay engaged throughout the process.

When asked about how the government plans to pay for the improvements, the mayor said, “I want to run Summerville on the backs of tourists and the business community … the tourists can go a long, long way to pay for what we want to do. They have a minimal impact on the infrastructure but a maximum impact on finances.”

Other residents asked about the Town’s emergency management process in light of the recent storm.

The mayor said the Town does have an emergency plan in place for severe storms like tornados or hurricanes but not for storms like the recent storms.

“The problem this time was communication,” he said. “We probably needed more contact with TV and radio stations. I think we’ll be better prepared for this next time [storms like these] happen.”

Among the rest of the topics, condemned and foreclosed homes in neighborhoods emerged as an issue. The mayor suggested the neighborhoods develop a community crime watch to assist the police.

The meeting lasted one hour. It was organized by the Community Resource Center.

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