March 5, 2021
In October 2020, the Charleston Metro Chamber, along with business leaders from the Charleston Regional Development Alliance (CRDA), Charleston Homebuilders Association, Charleston Trident Association of Realtors (CTAR) and the Berkeley-Charleston-Dorchester Council of Governments (BCDCOG) met with Mayor Tecklenburg and determined shared policy priorities. The Mayor identified an individual within the City government to work with the Chamber on each issue.
Last week, the Chamber and other business leaders held the first Quarterly Meeting with the Mayor to discuss the progress of our shared policy priorities. Below are updates for each.
The Charleston Metro Chamber held an Attainable Housing Workshop in February. Matt Ojala, the Deputy Director of Housing and Community Development for the City of Charleston, joined the workshop and asked for the Regional Policy Committee to explore partnership ideas with the City of Charleston. The Chamber’s Regional Policy Committee approved this request. We are looking forward to working with the City to explore solutions for more attainable housing, and partnership initiatives will be made public later this month.
The Mayor praised the Chamber’s efforts to address the housing attainability problems from a regional approach.
LCRT/Mark Clark Extension
Sharon Hollis from the BCDCOG gave an update on Lowcountry Rapid Transit (LCRT). The current plan will have 20 stations on the line with 3 park-and-rides. The anticipated travel time is 60 minutes, with service every 10 minutes during peak travel times. Virtual public meetings will be coming up at the end of March, and community support will be critical. The timeline for completed construction is 2025.
The Chamber shared the latest Mark Clark Extension newsletter. Public input will not occur until late summer or early fall.
The Mayor also supported the Chamber’s use of the DC Fly-in, to be held this September, to lobby for infrastructure funding for LCRT and the Mark Clark Extension and emphasized pushing the Extension as a “shovel-ready” project should Federal funds be potentially available.
One Region Recovery Roadmap
Kathryn Basha with the BCDCOG updated the Mayor on the efforts to create a One Region Economic Recovery and Resiliency Plan. SB Friedman was hired as the consultant and has been working with the One Region team (representatives from the BCDCOG, CRDA and the Chamber) to identify goals and conduct a SWOT analysis. The next steps will be identifying stakeholder groups and working to define a “healthy Charleston.”
Mayor Tecklenburg suggested the One Region Recovery Roadmap consider a near-term goal to begin the recovery process as soon as possible.
The Chamber is working with Tracy McKee, the Mayor’s Chief Innovation Officer, on the subdivision plat review and approval process. McKee is working on a dashboard to track the approval process and allow for more transparency. The Chamber identified concerns from the development community and is coordinating with McKee to form a focus group to explore improvements to the subdivision plat approval process.
The Mayor suggested Tracy McKee and the Chamber staff partner to explore the outcomes associated with the implementation of new stormwater management regulations.
Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
Kenya Dunn, the Chamber’s Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Executive Fellow and Founder & CEO of the Power-Filled Woman, updated the Mayor on the Chamber’s DE&I initiatives. Kenya identified high-level goals to advance the DE&I work in the business community.
This year, those initiatives include:
- Regional Minority Business Directory
- Tri-County Minority Business Ecosystem
- Business Community Pledge for Supplier Diversity
In the future, those initiatives will include:
- Minority Business Accelerator
- Leadership Training
The Mayor again praised a regional approach to the business directory. He recommended specific goals to make the pledge accountable over time and allow measurements for success. The Mayor also expressed interest in working with the Chamber on workforce development.
We look forward to maintaining an open dialogue with the Mayor’s team and collaborating to advance our shared policy priorities. As always, please feel free to reach out with any questions or concerns.
Government Relations Coordinator