Lexington Mayor Steve MacDougal gives State of the Town address Monday
Lexington, SC (Paul Kirby) – Lexington Mayor Steve MacDougall gave the State of the Town address last night in front of a packed room at the Lexington Town Hall. In that address, MacDougall spoke of all the positive things that are happening in the town that is growing rapidly. In that address, MacDougall started by saying, “2017 was another momentous year of fulfillment for the Town of Lexington.”
First, MacDougall spoke of the success of the Icehouse Amphitheater. In talking about that venue, he said, “In its first year, we hosted 50 events and greeted over 30,000 guests and were named the 2017 Municipal Association of South Carolina Achievement Award Winner. In addition to our signature concert series Lexington Live, the venue has been home to Movies in the Park, Lexington School District One Art Showcases, Lexington Community Band, the historic Total Solar Eclipse along with welcoming South Carolina natives Patrick Davis and Edwin McCain for our first larger scale concert. We look forward to a bigger and better second year, showcasing our wonderful downtown to residents and visitors alike!”
Next, he spoke of the growth of the town through annexation. In regard to that, he said, “It is crystal clear the Town of Lexington is the place where citizens want to live, work, play and learn. As we see downtown redevelop, Lexington will continue to reap the rewards through record Annexations. In 2017, we had 32 annexations encompassing 775 acres of property. This is our largest annexation in 40 years and equates to an 11 percent increase in the total area of town limits.” He also said, “Additionally, the Town saw an increase in the past year, watching the number of businesses licenses boom from 3,592 in 2016 to 3,675 in 2017. Furthermore, we had an increase in gross sales during the same time frame, catapulting from $1.9 billion to $2 billion.”
MacDougall also addressed the safety the people of the town enjoy. In his address, he said called the Lexington Police Department, “Our top-notch Police Department.” He said, “In addition to being internationally accredited from the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies since 2009, this past year saw a significant reduction in crime. Burglary reports are down 46%, while shoplifting went down to 19%.” He also pointed out that the police have held many events that will allow citizen to directly meet, greet, and participate in a variety of events including child seat safety checks, bike rodeos, coffee with a cop and the annual National Night Out, which was named an award winner within the category of 15,000 - 50,000 populations’ towns/cities this year.
The mayor also talked about the installation of the high-tech traffic management system that monitors and synchronizes traffic signals. These balance traffic flow in “real time” conditions and “link” all lights within the town limits. Currently, 19 intersections are online focused on downtown, Sunset Blvd at I-20, and North Lake Dr. toward the Lake Murray Dam. Phase II is coming soon, which will include 16 intersections. In addition to having all 35 signals in town on the system, Lexington is partnering with the Lexington Medical Center to add the 12 intersections on and around their campus.
The town has also continued to concentrate efforts on their utility infrastructure through the Capital Improvement Projects. The East Main Street water line project replaced 3,241 feet of pipe, which has been in service for over 90 years. Additionally, 10,000 square feet of sidewalk were removed and replaced extending from S. Lake Dr. to the Old Mill. Their sewer service is also being upgraded. The Cromer Road Pump Station is being designed to increase the wastewater pumping capacity to 12.5million gallons a day. This will flow to the Joint Wastewater Treatment Plant on the Congaree River. When finished, plans include installing a 30-inch parallel line to also tie into the joint facility.
The town’s Finance Department recently was awarded the Governmental Finance Officers Association Comprehensive Annual Finance Report Award for the 19th straight year and for the eighth straight year, they also won the Distinguished Budget Presentation Award. They recently were given an updated credit rating from Standard and Poor’s. Their water and sewer system also went from AA- to AA, labeled high investment grade. This saves them money when they have to borrow for projects.
In addition to all these things that have happened over the past year, Mayor MacDougall talked about other things planned for 2018. In the coming year, they will be working hard on the long awaited downtown improvements including the one-way pairs traffic modification and the addition of 150 more parking spaces near the town hall, the Palmetto Collegiate Institute, and the Icehouse venue. Phase I of the crossroad Improvements will include the Harmon Street Extension and other traffic solutions on the drawing board include the Corley Mill at Sunset Blvd. Gateway Improvements. The focus of the project is to improve current traffic flow through the Corley Mill Road and U.S. 378 intersection which serves as the primary Gateway to the town.
Other priorities on his list for the future included I-20 Westbound Ramp improvements to make turning onto Ginny Lane safer, Wayfinding Signage, which will direct residents and guests to specific landmarks throughout the Town of Lexington, 30 smaller projects that will further address alleviating traffic woes within Lexington, and the addition of a town maintenance facility. This project, which is currently underway, houses the utilities department staff, along with providing equipment storage for Parks and Sanitation, the police, and the Transportation and Utilities Departments.
Finally, improvements to Virginia Hilton Park, the town’s oldest and most utilized park, are still underway. Their goal is to preserve the qualities that make Virginia Hylton Park so special, while upgrading its aesthetic for the next generation.
The town is also working with FEMA and SCDHEC to rebuild the Gibson Pond Dam. Design is currently underway, and construction is slated to begin this year. The project will bring back the safety of the dam to our community but will also restore the pond to its natural state, so all citizens can enjoy its beauty.
In closing, the mayor spoke of community events that the town either plans or assist with. These quality of life events make people love the town and community for what it truly is, a great place to live, work, and play.
In his closing remarks, Mayor MacDougall said, “I wish that all of you have a continued healthy, happy and prosperous 2018. God bless you, your family, our town, the State of South Carolina and our great nation, the United States of America.”