Mt. Pleasant Town Council retreat brings updates on stormwater projects, the future of public recreation

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MT. PLEASANT, S.C. (WCBD) – In their annual retreat, members of Mt. Pleasant Town Council met Tuesday at the Hilton Garden Inn to discuss several aspects of the town including its financial position, future potential stormwater projects, the future of public recreation in town, and the review of the Mt. Pleasant Way.

The day started with a financial update from town administrator, Eric DeMoura. According to DeMoura, the towns financial position remains strong. A few more specific items discussed were the success of a hiring freeze within the town offices and an unexpected infusion of $650,000 from FEMA from previous storms.

One thing DeMoura noted that town council should keep is mind is making sure the town is staying competitive with salaries and benefits for employees in order to entice those workers to stay.

A lengthy discussion on the future of stormwater projects in town erupted during a presentation about funding for said projects. Council members and others joined in a discussion to identify the best method for funding the projects and how residents in town would play into that. No decisions were made today about the stormwater utility fees, but Mayor Will Haynie says there will be more discussions in the future.

“We’re fixing drainage in the town,” said the mayor.

A review of the Mount Pleasant Way was another topic on the agenda.

According to the project website, the Mount pleasant Way is “a linear park for cyclists and pedestrians that provides connectivity between activity areas and social, cultural, and physical health benefits for all.”

A final projected path has been decided upon and work to create Mount Pleasant is already underway, but now the town is searching for funding for the extensive project.

The future of public recreation was the next item on the agenda. Town leaders are looking at ways to potentially expand the reach of the Parks and Recreation Department over the coming years.

Some ideas brought up included bringing big tournaments to the city and using zoom classes to engage more people.

The discussion was led by Councilmember Tom O’Rourke.
He posed a few questions to the team including how Parks and Rec can address social issues hiding in the community.

“People that go home to their home and they sit there. Some people come home from school and they grab the joysticks and that’s their life,” said O’Rourke.

Inspiring high schoolers to get out and about is a concept some councilmembers think should be worked on.

“We do an amazing job at, like, five year old to middle school sports,” explained O’Rourke. “My point is…Ok, we’re really good at that. But is there other things that we should be looking at at the same time?”

One major project already in the works is Phase III of the Memorial Waterfront Park Project. Councilmember Gary Santos says it will cater to most age groups.

“We’re going to have two basketball courts underneath there,” said Santos. “We can actually do pickleball there, we can even do tennis and volleyball if you want. They can do yoga in the morning on the courts if they want. We’re going to have bocce. We’re going to have the splash pad for the kids.”

Another suggestion was to engage the town’s youth council to see what they’d like to see in the community.

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