SUMMERVILLE, S.C. (WCBD) – Voters in the Town of Summerville will have several decisions to make on the ballot in November including who they want to lead the town as mayor.
Two of the candidates, Russ Touchberry and Dickie Miller, spoke to News 2 on why they are running for the office. We reached out to the third candidate in the race, Vickie Fagan, but she did not return our request for an interview.
“I absolutely love this town. I was born and raised here and raised my children here. It has a special charm – it is vitally important, and if we are not careful, we’re gonna lose that,” said Touchberry, explaining why he is running this race.
Touchberry currently represents District 3 on Summerville Town Council. He’s also an engineer with his own engineering firm.
“Infrastructure is what I hear from our neighbors every day when I’m out in the community. Our traffic is just in complete congestion right now, so I think we need to focus in on our infrastructure,” he said. “The good thing is that I’m a civil engineer- and I’ve been in the transportation infrastructure industry now for 22 years, so I have a lot of relationships with our county council partners which are folks we need to work with on delivering solutions.”
Touchberry says they are already working on changes to help with traffic down the road.
“We’re working on something on North Main Street right now with Berkeley County and the council of governments to get Berlin Myers traffic to dump to I-26 versus going onto Main Street,” he said.
Dickie Miler is a longtime broker in charge of Summerville real estate firm Miler Properties.
“This is the time in Summerville’s history, that we are at a tipping point that I really believe the decisions we make in the near future are really going to set the paradigm for how our town moves, and in which direction a more progressive manner or more conservative manner,” said Dickie Miler.
He also says infrastructure is key. “It’s outdated and it’s inadequate. Consequently, the traffic is a snarl. Traffic is choking us to death. So those are the major issues we need to deal with to make sure we have a quality of life that improves not just for today, but for the future.”
Both candidates say the redevelopment of the county-owned property at 500 N Main Street has a role to play in Summerville’s future.
“We’re going to need to re-development 500 North St. in a manner that is very cooperative, very palatable and something all of us can find a win-win. That has not happened yet. We are moving in the right direction,” said Miler.
Both men say they want to see more bike and walking trails connecting throughout the town of Summerville, which they believe would continue to encourage the smaller-town feel.
The election will take place on November 7.