Another summer is upon us and the city is going full force in every direction. This past month, we hired Kevin Cornett as our new police chief. City Council will swear him in at our May 28 council meeting, and his first day on the job will be June 3. Please come to our city council meeting to meet Chief Cornett and say hello. We are happy to welcome Chief Cornett to our City family and excited to see him build strong community relations and implement his community-oriented policing approach within the agency. Chief Cornett started his law enforcement career in the City of Columbia as a police officer in 2005, and rose through the ranks prior to becoming the chief of police in Springdale in 2012.
The City is faced with several large dollar projects which we are diligently working on through our Ways and Means Committee. My top priority remains improving drainage infrastructure on the island, however, we have other projects that are now sharing the top “must do” list.
Starting with the first one, drainage, we have Thomas and Hutton designing three drainage outfalls, one at 41st Ave., one at 36th Ave. and one at 31st Ave. The estimated cost is $3.9 million. The City remains committed at addressing our growing drainage related needs in phases.
The Planning Commission is looking at strategies to make our island more resilient. It is time for us to start using pervious sidewalks, driveways and pool surrounds. Doing so would drastically help the City manage stormwater.
Last year, we increased expenses associated with our drainage maintenance contract to maintain and clean our ditches more frequently throughout the year. Also, SCDOT performed significant improvements earlier this year to assist in stormwater management within the SCDOT right-of-way infrastructure and they committed to return to the island every quarter to continue working on these priorities.
The Public Safety Building, built in 2009, has serious construction deficiencies that need to be addressed now. Trident Construction, who built Fire Station 1, is doing the investigative work and testing to identify all of the repairs needed. The actual work will likely not start until January 2020 and won’t be completed until the next fiscal year, so we are trying to pay for the repairs without borrowing. But, we need to be prepared to borrow if need be.
Another “must do” project is the marina docks, that the City is contractually obligated to replace. The City is pursuing the permits now, which may take around 52 weeks for a project this large. This is yet another project that will cost millions. In the future, any leases the City considers should be triple net leases, with the tenant being responsible for taxes, insurance and both ordinary and extraordinary maintenance.
This is the first summer with the new beach parking regulations that requires parallel parking on both sides of Palm Blvd. between 21st and 40th Aves. I recently visited other local beaches and saw how great our plan is working as compared to where we were several years ago. We still have some tweaking to do, but beach parking is much better organized and we have successfully reduced the impact on our residential areas.
Please keep up with the City’s calendar and social media for all of the upcoming special events and meetings!
Jimmy Carroll, Mayor