ADVOCACY

Why is the Chamber involved in Mount Pleasant Issues?

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WRITTEN BY Charleston Chamber 2 years ago

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Since its founding in 1773, the Charleston Metro Chamber has been an advocate for a healthy business climate, the advancement of our entire region’s economy and supporting our member businesses through our work on issues such as infrastructure, talent development, economic development and entrepreneurship. As a metro chamber, we strive every day to support and strengthen our entire region, which includes all of Berkeley, Charleston and Dorchester Counties. As an influential municipality in the Charleston Metro area, Mount Pleasant’s success is naturally very important to the success of the region as a whole. Recognizing that fact, we have been working for many years to improve the quality of life in Mount Pleasant. This isn’t the first time that the Chamber has worked to support Mount Pleasant. In 2004, the Chamber led the effort to pass the ½ cent sales tax, directly resulting in the widening of Highway 17, the Johnnie Dodds Blvd. project and the construction of the Ravenel Bridge. In both 2010 and 2014, the Chamber spearheaded the Yes4Schools campaign in order to pass a referendum to raise funds to improve schools in Charleston County.  As a direct result of those campaigns, Mount Pleasant has had more brand new schools built in the last 15 years than ANY other part of Charleston County. The Chamber is not a group of outsiders, coming in to squeeze money out of Mount Pleasant, it’s quite the opposite actually. Nearly one-quarter of our staff are long-time Mount Pleasant residents, who want to see their home thrive while maintaining a healthy balance of growth just as much as anyone. There are 274 Chamber members operating in the Mount Pleasant area, representing approximately 11,400 employees.  Those employers and their employees want the same thing we do, to be able to find appropriately priced housing for the people who spend their days working hard for the community of Mount Pleasant. The people who serve you at your favorite restaurant on Shem Creek, the people who ring up your purchases in Town Center and the people who work at the really cool design firm that just opened up all want to live close to where they work, but as of now, that isn’t a reality for most of them. We know that unbridled growth will create a dysfunctional community. We also know that pretending that growth won’t happen if we tell it not to is illogical. People are moving to Mount Pleasant, and every other part of the region. No one can stop them.  Rather, we need to plan for them. Other parts of the region are starting these plans and we don’t want Mount Pleasant to become a town that refuses to plan for growth and, as a result, becomes a sprawling  nightmare that they may never be able to get themselves back out of. The smart changes and ideas we support are not going to fix everything today. It may take years for all of this to pay off. That’s OK. You don’t plan a community based on today. You have to think long term. One apartment building won’t make people get rid of their cars and one traffic circle won’t make or break anything. We have to work together to make a series of changes that move us toward the walkable, attractive, affordable community that we know Mount Pleasant can be and should be for our children and grandchildren.

We aren’t standing in front of Mount Pleasant asking the town to change everything that it is. We are standing beside Mount Pleasant, encouraging it to become everything it can be.

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