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Updated: October 27, 2023 @ 3:52 am
Editor’s note: Candidates running opposed races for Summerville mayor and the Summerville Town Council District 2 seat were all asked to respond to the following questions. All candidates received the same set of questions and were asked to limit their responses to around 1,000 words total.
NAME: Dickie Miler
AGE: not provided
CANDIDATE FOR: mayor of Summerville
FAMILY: wife, Debbie; four daughters
OCCUPATION: Broker-in-charge at Miler Properties
POLITICAL OR OTHER RELEVANT EXPERIENCE: former candidate for mayor of Summerville; served on the boards of Children in Crisis, Dorchester County Homeless Shelter, the Dorchester County Tax Authority and Pinewood Preparatory School; chairman of the board for the Summerville Family YMCA; membership chair of the Summerville Rotary Club.
Q-1. DEVELOPMENT PATTERNS: The past 40 years of Summerville’s growth has almost entirely taken the form of suburban sprawl. The town hasn’t grown so much as it’s been encircled by disjointed islands of residential subdivisions and commercial strip centers. Do you agree with this pattern of development, and would you encourage more of it? If not, what specifically do you propose instead, and how would you achieve it?
Miler: I totally disagree with the pattern of development we have been involved in over the years. I have always been a proponent of strategic, sensible, systematic and sustainable growth development that allows us to prepare and plan for the necessary infrastructure demand the development will require.
Q-2. ANNEXATION: The town currently has no discernible shape, boundary or contiguity. What is your position on further annexation? At what point is the town sufficiently big? Should the town grow outward or inward?
Miler: We have no annexation plan. When I ran for office 12 years ago I was, and still am, a strong proponent of annexation on the periphery of our town so we could control and direct the development, when it occurred. This way we are being proactive instead of reactive to growth demands. Further, by being annexed, you have a voice that matters with issues that concern all of us; and the services provided are improved and uniformed so all the citizens feel like thy are getting top-quality public services. We become one town.
Q-3. DOWNTOWN: Should the downtown experience be limited to south of the train tracks or expanded north of the tracks? Do you like North Main Street as it is, or should it be developed? What should it look like? Please give specific examples from other towns.
Miler: The Historic downtown shopping district starts at Highway 78 and South Main Street and runs to town hall. Because of residential borders, the district cannot move farther south on South Main Street, or east or west on Richardson Avenue. The downtown experience needs to grow across the railroad tracks along Cedar Street, Main Street and Magnolia Street toward Highway 78. However, this expansion needs to stay in concert with the towns existing sense of place, feel and charm by embracing building height restrictions, pleasant setbacks, sidewalk improvements and connectivity, pedestrian crosswalks, more green space and tree canopy, bicycle paths and street redesign and speed restrictions. This has occurred successfully in thriving towns such as Hendersonville and Waynesville in North Carolina, Franklin, Tennessee, Ocean Springs, Mississippi, and others.
Q-4. BUSINESSES: Many small and mid-sized businesses choose to locate in the more tax- and business-friendly Berkeley County. What, specifically, would you do to attract Main Street businesses downtown?
Miler: With a specific economic plan to attract the product mix and varieties of local business we want to come. This can be done by working in collaboration and partnership with the major stakeholders in town, such as our chamber of commerce, DREAM, economic development boards, existing business leaders and others. Secondly, the town has to foster a welcoming and entrepreneurial spirit that is winsome and engaging, which creates an atmosphere where other business want to come.
Q-5. QUALITY OF LIFE: What issues, specifically, do you include in “quality of life”? In what order would you prioritize these quality-of-life issues compared to other issues?
5. Traffic congestion, lack of connectivity to our parks and recreational areas, neighborhoods and downtown, public safety and unbridled growth all affect the quality of life.
Q-6. WALKABILITY: Despite the town’s comprehensive plan, which calls for developing a walkable and pedestrian-oriented downtown by prioritizing sidewalk and crosswalk projects, very little has been done since the plan was adopted in 2020. Do residents have a fundamental right to safely and comfortably walk on streets and cross intersections? Should children be able to walk or bike to a friend’s house, school, or nearby store, especially in the core area of Summerville? If yes, where is this on your priority list? If you’re an incumbent, please explain why there has been so little progress. Do you pledge to fund sidewalk and crosswalk projects and in what timeframe should Summerville meet this objective?
Miler: Walkability must improve.
Q-7. TRAFFIC: Aside from using coordinated traffic light timing to maintain uninterrupted automobile flow through intersections, there are two basic approaches to mitigating road congestion: 1. widening roads to make multi-lane thoroughfares that function as machines for moving cars, but that are dangerous for pedestrians and rupture the town fabric; or 2. increasing the connectivity of the street grid network to diffuse cars across multiple smaller streets, each designed for pedestrian scale and suitable for businesses and homes. Which approach do you favor? Are there other measures you propose?
Miler: I prefer option No. 2. I also believe new road designs, strategic traffic circles, elimination of some left turn lanes, increased length of right turning lanes, more public transit and other measures.
Q-8. PARKS: How important are parks and where are they on your priority list? Should public parks be passive (woods and trails), or should they also have active components and offer a wide variety of uses? Do you favor having more community-oriented parks that are directly accessible by residents by walking, or larger regional parks accessible primarily by car?
Miler: Yes, I do.
Q-9. WOODLANDS: What should be done with the Woodlands property? Should the land, or at least most of it, be developed into a community park, as initially planned by town council?
Miler: This is a very important piece of real estate that is a gateway into town via W. Richardson and guards the Gadsden neighborhood. I believe there needs to be a great deal of public collaboration and input from many sources to come up with the “best plan” possible for this property. It should not be overdeveloped, but maintain a strong green space appeal the welcomes several limited recreational opportunities, walkability and nature that maintains its natural beauty while also serving as a wooded buffer to Gadsden.
Q-10. RECREATION FACILITIES: The town’s comprehensive plan recommends developing several community centers and athletic facilities throughout Summerville to provide residents with resources close to their neighborhoods. Do you agree with this approach, or do you support building a single, eight-gym sports complex geared toward regional events, as recently proposed by some politicians?
Miler: I agree with the comprehensive plan to provide residents with various recourses close to their neighborhoods, but married with adequate and safe connectivity so all the recreational spots can be safely enjoyed by all. Any type of regional sports complex needs to be a partnership with Berkeley County off the Nexton Parkway area, in the same manner that our fantastic swimming natatorium in the city of North Charleston next to Fort Dorchester High School is enjoyed by all.
Editor’s note: Candidates running opposed races for Summerville mayor and the Summerville Town Council District 2 seat were all asked to respond to the following questions. All candidates received the same set of questions and were asked to limit their responses to around 1,000 words total. Read moreQUESTIONS FOR CANDIDATES: Bill McIntosh
Editor’s note: Candidates running opposed races for Summerville mayor and the Summerville Town Council District 2 seat were all asked to respond to the following questions. All candidates received the same set of questions and were asked to limit their responses to around 1,000 words total. Read moreQUESTIONS FOR CANDIDATES: Tiffany Johnson-Wilson
Editor’s not… Read moreQUESTIONS FOR CANDIDATES: Vickie Fagan
Editor’s not… Read moreQUESTIONS FOR CANDIDATES: Dickie Miler
The Journal Scene
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Summerville, SC 29483
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