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Mayor says Mount Pleasant making strides in attainable housing, strategic planning, business

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The Mount Pleasant Farmers Market's return, the Blessing of the Fleet, 34 ribbon cuttings and more were among the milestones noted by Mayor Will Haynie. (Photo/Mount Pleasant)In the first state of the town address since he was re-elected mayor, Will Haynie had a message for the world about Mount Pleasant: We’re back to normal.

In a recorded 13-minute video complete with a montage of 2021 events, Haynie made a point of reminding his audience that the town has continued to function more or less as usual, despite an ongoing pandemic.

“We’re proud of the spirit and resilience of our community,” he said, while noting the town’s record 34 ribbon cuttings, return of the Mount Pleasant Farmers Market, Blessing of the Fleet, Art Fest, Children’s Day Festival, Christmas parade and Cooper River Bridge Run.

In March, the town will host its second Medal of Honor Day Celebration, to coincide with construction of the National Medal of Honor Museum at Patriot’s Point, scheduled for completion on Memorial Day of 2024.

Haynie credited town staff for overcoming COVID-19 and said the town had eclipsed an 80% vaccination rate.

Mount Pleasant Mayor Will Haynie gives his State of the Town address from his office in Mount Pleasant. (Photo/Mount Pleasant)“Thank you for giving our community a sense of hope during difficult times,” he said.

Haynie touted his Palmetto Principle of Leadership, which he first unveiled four years ago to guide his administration and slow growth in the town, now the fourth largest municipality in the state, with an estimated 91,000 residents in the 2020 census. Based on three pillars – protect, plan and restore – he outlined how the town had fulfilled those promises by improving its fire rating and lowering property insurance rates; breaking ground on the Royal Avenue Basin drainage project; implementing a 2020 comprehensive town plan; and shaking up several town departments.

He made special mention of the privately financed Gregorie Ferry Towns workforce housing development, a 42-unit condominium complex off U.S. Highway 41 with 1,016 square-foot to 1,254 square-foot homes averaging $282,000, according to real estate listings.

“Such projects are needed throughout the Lowcountry,” he said, in answer to those who point the finger particularly at Mount Pleasant, whose average home price of $620,000 is out of reach for most families. “We must seek creative solutions so that our public servants, teachers, health care workers, firefighters and police officers, to name a few, are able to live where they work.”

Haynie, a 55-year Mount Pleasant resident, Citadel graduate and owner of his own marketing firm, was first elected to the Town Council in 2015, vowing to get ahead of the town’s explosive growth. He noted road improvements begun last year on Rifle Range Road, Billy Swails Boulevard and the Patriots Point gateway road, and capital projects that include several drainage improvement efforts.

He warned that the town must become proactive on the subject of flooding.

“We must change direction if we want to increase our resilience to future threats,” he said. “We must increase our protection of the natural world and invest in green spaces to slow, retain and discharge our flood waters.”

But his key message is that Mount Pleasant is open for business “and proudly so.”

“We were open for business during the pandemic year promoting a myriad of distinctive businesses that define Mount Pleasant’s vibrant economy.”

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