Lexington mayor list town’s accomplishments from 2019, paints a vision of an even brighter future in
Lexington, SC (Paul Kirby) – Town of Lexington Mayor Steve MacDougall gave his 2020 State of the Town address Monday, January 3, 2020. In it, he highlighted the accomplishments of the Town in 2019 and laid out its leaders’ vision for the coming year. In introducing his address, MacDougall promised to, “Review some of our most notable accomplishments from last year and outline what you can expect to see in 2020.” He also described 2019 as a year of growth and great progress for the Town of Lexington.
As with most conversations about Lexington and its growth, Mayor MacDougall quickly brought up traffic, a dirty word to those who sit stuck in it regularly. In his remarks, MacDougall reminded those in attendance and watching from home that Lexington had spent approximately $4 million dollars in 2019 on road and traffic improvements. He said the town is working around the clock to relieve congestion and improve traffic flow.
Since implementing the innovative Adaptive Signalization project on many of Lexington’s traffic lights and the completion of the one-way pair in the middle of the Town, travel time has decreased up to 41% in the area of Main Street, MacDougall reminded the audience. The same signal systems have also greatly cut travel time on the Sunset Boulevard’s I-26 to I-20 corridor. MacDougall said there is one more phase to be completed before all signals in town will be synched. This plays a large role in reducing ‘Red Light Time’, the amount of time motorists spend sitting at a red traffic signal.
In 2020, an additional $9 million dollars is planned for traffic improvements on North Lake Drive from North Church Street to Columbia Avenue. The relocation of Dreher Street and the extension of Harmon Street to North Lake Drive is also planned. This should act to help alleviate some congestion of key intersections in town that now have long wait times. Mayor MacDougall closed this portion of the address by saying, “In the next five years, it’s expected that we will spend $20 to $30 million dollars on traffic improvements.”
MacDougall answered the question on the minds of many people when they think about Lexington and how it has become a destination for so many families looking to put down roots. In this part of his address, MacDougall said that the town had already begun a program that will have those new residents pay their fair share of improvements needed to let everyone have equal and easy access to Lexington’s benefits and featres as painlessly as possible. In short, the mayor made it clear that some of the cost of improving roads and other important infrastructure would land on the people who've caused key issues like traffic, not just on the shoulders of citizens who may have called the Town home for decades. MacDougall said Lexington has started implementing Impact Fees for all new development. Using a formula that calculates how many trips or vehicles a new development will create on Lexington’s roads daily; the Town is charging a per trip fee that’s paid up front by developers. Those fees will be used within three years on pre-established projects.
MacDougall also acknowledged the awards and honors Lexington’s Police Department received in 2019 under the leadership of Chief Terrance Green and his staff. He also spoke of the renovations of Virginia Hylton Park and the dedication of the Pat Jeffcoat Serenity Park within it. Both the high level of safety afforded citizens and visitors by the police and completed projects and planned improvements for the town’s largest park highlight the high quality of life items people expect when in Lexington. In 2020, MacDougall said to expect renovations on the park to continue. There are plans that includes an all-inclusive playground and updated equipment.
In 2019, the Town’s new Maintenance Operations Center on Bruner Road opened. It provided a new headquarters for the Utilities Department. MacDougall said crews now have immediate access to parts and equipment so they can resolve issues faster.
Looking ahead to 2020, MacDougall said there are several other exciting projects Lexington is working on. These include the rebuilding of the Gibson Pond Park Dam and a one-mile long walking trail that will circle around the Old Mill Pond. Additionally, a covered open-air Pavilion along South Church Street is to be added at the Icehouse Amphitheater. The Pavilion will become home to the popular Farmer’s Market and multiple other events. At the request of the public, additional women’s restrooms are to be added at the Icehouse, and air conditioning will be installed in the existing facilities.
In closing, Mayor MacDougall reminded the audience that these projects and progress are a result of the Lexington’s Vision Plan. This plan is a team effort of the mayor, councilmembers, and the Town's staff. It is updated regularly as projects are completed. “I look forward to another year of growth and exciting things ahead for the Town of Lexington,” he concluded.