By Lauren Ratcliffe
Published Jan. 23, 2013
Mayor Joe Riley delivered his annual state of the city address Tuesday and began by heralding the safety, beauty and economic vibrancy of the city.
Mayor Joe Riley
“This isn’t just another accolade,” Riley said.
Riley highlighted the success of the Charleston Digital Corridor and said all of the corridor’s companies are actively hiring.
Construction of homes and other projects in the city is also on the rise. Riley said building permits for single-family homes grew 24% from 2011 and hit its highest levels since 2007. In addition, construction on the Gaillard Auditorium, Horizon Project and drainage projects throughout the city have allowed the city to look to the future and prepare, Riley said.
The mayor also touched on controversial issues, both locally and nationally. The mayor applauded Charleston County Council for voting to move forward with the completion of Interstate 526 and offered initiatives to conserve the natural beauty on Johns Island.
He called for County Council to consider using Greenbelt funds to purchase conservation easements and for the creation of a Johns Island Land Use Commission jointly between the county and city to guide the region as it considers planning and zoning requests.
The mayor also urged lawmakers to pass legislation to tighten the bail process and enhance penalties for illegal possession of firearms. He encouraged lawmakers to support President Obama’s gun control measures.
He said for the sixth year violent crimes have decreased. Since 2009, violent crimes decreased 70% — from 909 crimes to 272. Riley said the collaborative efforts between local law enforcement and other groups helped make the city safer.