CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Charleston Mayor John Tecklenburg is set to deliver his annual State of the City address tonight at City Hall.
City spokesman Jack O’Toole said because of the surge in COVID-19 cases, residents are encouraged to watch the address on the city’s YouTube channel and participate virtually.
2021 address laid out 4 priorities
Tecklenburg’s State of the City address in 2021 began with the city’s response to COVID-19, praise for healthcare workers and excitement about the vaccines against the disease that had become available.
But the mayor then moved on to four critical questions he said Charleston would face last year, the first being the question of how Charleston can continue to protect itself from COVID-19.
He encouraged people to get vaccinated, a message state and federal health leaders continue to push on large numbers of people who have not yet taken their first dose. He reminded everyone of the need to follow guidance in dealing with the pandemic, including handwashing and the use of face coverings. He also urged people to continue to support local and small businesses.
He also spoke about racial oppression and injustice.
“Do we believe what we say about liberty and justice for all, and what are we willing to do to achieve it?” he said.
He touted the city’s apology for its role in slavery, the removal of the John C. Calhoun Memorial from Marion Square and the independent racial audit of the Charleston Police Department as “dividends” in the campaign for racial justice. Those dividends, he said, set the stage for “real and meaningful progress toward equity and inclusion” for all of Charleston’s citizens in 2021.
He said the city’s Commission on Equity, Diversity and Racial Conciliation would prepare “far-reaching proposals” for City Council while the International African American Museum moved forward with its plan to present the stories of Charleston’s Black citizens.
His third focus in the 2021 speech was the Holy City’s future as climate change brings an increased threat of flooding.
He said the city has a “sound strategic plan in place” with millions of dollars in flood-protection work underway. He presented three major decisions the city would face: a new citywide comprehensive plan to deal with flooding concerns, an Army Corps of Engineers’ plan to build a sea wall, and the city’s Climate Action Plan.
His final push in the 2021 speech focused on addressing “a crisis in housing affordability.”
Tecklenburg set to speak at 6 p.m. Tuesday
Tecklenburg will likely address his take on the city’s progress in these areas and advance his strategy for the new year in Tuesday’s speech.
Those who choose to attend the meeting in person will be required to show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test result confirmed within the past 72 hours, along with a valid ID, O’Toole said.
Masks are required to be worn at all times, he said.
The address begins at 6 p.m.
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