Last week, Charleston Mayor John Tecklenburg, Police Chief Luther Reynolds, and other city officials attended a neighborhood meeting organized by the Eastside Community Development Corporation to give an update on city initiatives in the Eastside neighborhood.
“Together, we’ve made real progress here on the Eastside in recent years, but as last week’s tragedy reminds us, there’s still much work to be done," Mayor Tecklenburg said. "Tonight’s update is about all the ways our city is working in partnership with our Eastside residents to maintain and accelerate that progress, while protecting the unique history and culture of this special area of our city.”
After the meeting, the city release the following list of initiatives:
- An update on the arrest of Shannon Lamont Johnson, 18, of West Lenevar Drive who is charged with murder and possession of a firearm during the commission of a violent crime in relation to the homicide that occurred Thursday, August 8, 2019, near 43 Hanover Street.
- Five new surveillance cameras to be installed this year.
- Stepped up patrols in the area.
- Every Wednesday, officers partner with Roper St. Francis, Charleston Dorchester Mental Health Center, Franklin C. Fetter Family Health Center, MUSC, Lowcountry Food Bank, The Charleston Center, local area farmers and grocers, and Access Health for the Farmacy program, which provides free fruits and vegetables, information and resources to help connect individuals to the care they need to improve their overall health and wellbeing.
- Assisted with food and clothing distribution to people in need in Mall Park.
- The police department hosts 11 weeks of midnight basketball.
- Officers volunteer in the Lunch Buddy program (weekly mentoring with elementary school students).
- Every year, officers assist with toy deliveries with Toys for Tots.
- Participated in the gift card giveaway in conjunction with the Star Gospel Mission.
- Representatives from the department attended the Stop the Violence rally in September 2018.
- Ongoing light fixture installation and repairs, including 12 repairs and three new lights installed this year.
- Annual tree pruning efforts are underway. Last year, 43 trees were pruned, and an assessment is underway to identify locations for pruning this year.
- More than 20 street trees have been planted in the neighborhood since last fall.
- Earlier this summer, America-Amherst Pocket Park was renovated and replanted.
- Saturday October 13, 2018, Keep Charleston Beautiful, Mayor’s Office staff and Eastside residents began a neighborhood cleanup campaign, which sparked the neighborhood’s “Second Saturday at Simmons Sweep” monthly litter cleanup walks.
- The city has received a grant to replace the playground equipment at Mall Park Playground.
Quality of Life Initiatives
- Eastside Community Job Expo was held Saturday, December 1, at St. Julian Devine, sponsored by ECDC, City of Charleston, City Housing Authority, M. B. Kahn Construction Company.
- The Grace Homes Affordable Housing Project is under construction with expected completion in Summer 2020.
- “Walk for Education” was held February 23, 2019 sponsored by National Society of Black Engineers, City of Charleston and Palmetto Community Action Partnership, at St. Julian Devine.
Traffic and Transportation Initiatives
- Funding is in place for traffic calming measures to be installed on Aiken Street, as soon as the petition is received from the neighborhood.
- The introduction of limited street sweeping as the neighborhood considers whether to request mandatory towing on street sweeping days.