BRACK: Vote YES on Charleston’s $20 million housing bond referendum

Mayor John Tecklenburg, left, speaks at an event earlier this month at Williams Terrace. At right are Charleston Housing Authority Executive Director Don Cameron and the agency’s board chair, Edward Kronsberg.

By Andy Brack, editor and publisher  |  Charleston needs more places for police, firefighters, teachers and seniors to live if we want to keep the fabric of our community diverse and strong.  If there aren’t affordable places for people to live, we’ll keep heading down the path of becoming a historical Disney world for rich tourists and rich folks who want to have a second home here.

You can do something to keep Charleston vibrant by voting YES in a Nov. 7 citywide bond referendum that seeks $20 million to buy, build and equip safe and affordable housing for people and families with low to moderate incomes.

“We need more housing that working families can afford — firefighters, police officers, nurses, teachers and more,” Charleston Mayor John Tecklenburg told us.  “That’s why this bond is so critical to our city’s future, and it’s why I’m asking our citizens to support it on Nov. 7th.”

“By leveraging these dollars with public, private and nonprofit partners, we’ll be able to build hundreds of high-quality affordable workforce housing units and refurbish blighted properties in areas across the city.”

The bond referendum is expected to be able to allow the city to leverage bond funds to add 800 units of multi-family and single-family detached units to the community’s supply of affordable housing.  More info.

A YES vote will authorize the city to issue bonds to move forward with various affordable projects, such as the recently-completed 41-unit senior housing unit at a corner of Concord and Laurens streets in downtown Charleston.  The one-bedroom studio units at Williams Terrace rent for about $810 per month for qualified seniors who earn less than $32,000 a year.

Council races also on the ballot

Charleston voters in the city’s six even-numbered districts also will vote for city council members.  Unopposed incumbents are Robert Mitchell (District 4) and Mike Seekings (District 8).

In the other races, Charleston Currents endorses four incumbents over challengers who need more depth.  If the incumbents are reelected, we encourage them to work more closely with Tecklenburg to realize better solutions on  managing growth and hotels, controlling floodwaters, and building a council team.  Endorsed are:

Rodney Williams, District 2:  Williams, who joined council four years ago, should be re-elected for his commitment to people across West Ashley and the common good.  His credentials are highlighted by the Lowcountry Livability PAC: “His commitment to thoughtful planning in West Ashley, smart governance on community resiliency, and remarkable record on quality of life initiatives are attributes essential to effective governance on City Council.”

William Dudley Gregorie, District 6:  A member of council for eight years, Gregorie is a strong advocate for affordable housing and has more than 30 years of professional experience in the field.  He’s thoughtful on growth and is involved in his district, which includes part of downtown and James Island.

Dean Riegel, District 10:  Riegel, the incumbent, listens.  He attends community meetings.  While we don’t always agree with what he does and the way he does it, he is the best of three candidates and deserves to be reelected for his experience.

Kathleen Wilson, District 12:  Wilson, a member of council since 2005, has broad experience and dedication to serving people across James Island.  We agree with the Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce PAC that “Wilson has deep institutional knowledge.  …She has steadily maintained views that are aligned with the Chamber’s Sustainable Growth Ethic while proactively addressing constituent concerns on James Island.”


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