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Mount Pleasant mayor, council consider forming Shem Creek task force

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Mount Pleasant Mayor Linda Page has asked Town Council members to make recommendations and nominations for a possible Shem Creek task force.

No details have been decided about the tasks the group would undertake. Page is seeking ideas for that, as well as a timeline for the group to file a report and make recommendations. The issue came up during the town’s April meeting, after Councilman Jim Owens made a motion for the task force to be created.

Mount Pleasant Town Council is making recommendations to Mayor Linda Page about the formation of a task force for Shem Creek. (Photo/Andy Owens)

“Shem Creek is very important to our town. It’s the No. 1 photographed area in South Carolina, probably the Southeast,” Owens said. “It serves as an icon, as the heart and soul of the residents of Mount Pleasant, so it’s imperative to maintain its character.”

Owens said he hoped the task force would comprise a diverse group of people, to ensure the creek is maintained and to bring development that’s in keeping with the character of the town and Shem Creek. He said he hoped each member of Town Council would be able to appoint someone to the task force.

“It will give us an opportunity to support the working functions of the creek. It will include property owners, neighbors, local businesses,” Owens said.

One recommendation could be to create a standing commission or committee, instead of just a task force with a limited scope. Councilman Will Haynie told Page that he had hoped the task force would serve a broader function, with members not just being appointed by the mayor.

“My understanding and my vision for this was it would be more like a commission, like the Old Village Historic District Commission, where Council in general appoints the members, with nominations and people applying,” Haynie said. “I’m afraid that if it’s a task force where one person appoints all of this, it will have a very short life, and it will not have that fresh input.”

Page said that would be the type of recommendation she would consider, but added that the mayor has the duty to appoint task forces in the town. She asked for ideas, nominations and the timeline so she could make presentation at next month’s Town Council meeting. She said it’s also important to have an end goal in mind for the task force.

“I’d like you to put a timeline on this,” she said. “In my opinion, this is not the duty of government. This is something that should shift to an outside board, but government can facilitate it.”

Reach Andy Owens at 843-849-3142.

Reach Andy Owens at 843-849-3142.

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