Filing opens for Summerville's mayoral race, three council seats

Bob Jackson

Bob Jackson is often found strolling beneath the canopy of Live Oak trees rooted along the banks of the Ashley River. Regardless of the activity — taking his grandchildren for a swim, launching a kayak from Jessen Boat Landing or just picking up trash — Jackson enjoys his time on the blackwater river.

The Summerville Town Councilman has represented District 6 for years. During that time, he worked to preserve acreage surrounding the Ashley River by preventing the development of condos. He describes the area as a “wonderful resource,” and hopes to see more recreation opportunities offered along the river in addition to improved access.

Currently Jackson is focused on the Bend on the Ashley; 34 acres of property on the Ashley adjacent to Jessen Boat Landing. He envisions an education center where people can learn about both natural and cultural history of the freshwater river that flows through Summerville.

He disagrees with others on the town council who have expressed interest in building a restaurant on the river.

The Bend on the Ashley is the last big project Jackson wants to see through. Another recreational asset he promoted was the renovation of the Rollins Edwards Community Center at the National Guard Armory. While some on the council were in favor of tearing down the building, Jackson pushed for the town to invest in renovation of the facility.

He said the RECC and also the town’s progress on a new park at the Bend on the Ashley, is evidence of what can be accomplished through vision and teamwork.

In recent months Jackson has coordinated with Dorchester County Councilman Bill Hearn to establish a tax increment financing district in Oakbrook. The TIF district allows the town to use new revenue generated by increases in property tax value to accomplish public improvement projects within that district. The process does not mean a tax increase.

In addition to improving the Oakbrook area, Jackson said he hopes to continue to promote Summerville’s downtown. He said the retail businesses would benefit from more residents living in the historic district. More residents means more foot traffic and a boost to the economic activity in the downtown area.

Like all of the town’s elected officials, Jackson is concerned by the increasing traffic congestion in Summerville.

“It’s really a double edged sword- you’ve got to be careful because the more roads you put in, the more development comes,” Jackson said. “More people are coming.”

Jackson, 63, is originally from Pittsburgh, he moved to the Charleston area in 1975. He served five years in the U.S. Navy before joining the U.S. Air Force and serving 16 years. He has an Associate Degree in Mechanical Engineering and Aircraft Maintenance. Bob worked as a Development Engineering Technician for Robert Bosch and has been an active member of the Oakbrook Civic Association. Jackson has six children. Together he and his wife, Cyndy, have 10 grandchildren.