ULI Charlotte News

Charleston’s Mayor Looks Back on 40 Years of Progress

As he completes his tenth term as Charleston, South Carolina’s mayor—and his 40th year in office—Joseph P. Riley Jr. could speak only of all that he has left to do and how little time he has to do it.

There is the grand opening of the Gaillard Center, a $142 million performing arts center that will be the crown jewel of Charleston’s already world-class cultural scene; the private partners he seeks to support the so-calledLowcountry Lowline, a proposed greenway on a 1.5-mile (2.4 km) stretch of an abandoned Norfolk Southern railway; and the funds that still need to be raised for the International African American Museum, a $75 million endeavor that honors the legacy of Africans brought to the United States against their will who began lives in slavery at Charleston’s harbor.

“I’ve got until the 11th of January next year, and I’ve got so much to do,” Riley, 72, told a crowd at the ULI Carolinas’ Second Annual Meeting, held February 9–10 in Charleston. Three district councils – ULI Charlotte, ULI Triangle, and ULI South Carolina – received an Urban Innovation Grant from the ULI Foundation to support the conference.

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