Lexington Mayor Steve MacDougall details improvement plan, recounts progress

State of the Town address was Monday

Town of Lexington Mayor Steve MacDougall delivered his “State of the Town” address Monday night. In it, MacDougall addressed traffic congestion, annexation and growth, and some key attractions that have become a part of Lexington’s personality.

He also detailed infrastructure projects and funding for repairs that are lingering from flood damage.

Lexington State of the Town Address Monday evening. (Photos Provided by Jennifer Dowden.)

Among highlights of the past year, MacDougall alluded to the opening of the Icehouse Amphitheater in October. Several successful events have been hosted at the site.

MacDougall also said the Lexington Police Department was awarded a Body Camera Grant. The grant provided funding for all uniformed officers to carry a body worn camera while on duty.

The police department also received a Traffic Safety Grant, funding two officers and their equipment needed for a three-year time frame.

Additionally, the Police Department received the Security Industry Alarm Award, for a reduction of business and residential alarms by over 40 percent in a six-year time frame. Notably, our Police Department was awarded, for the second straight year, Agency of the Year for DUI enforcement and DUI citizen education.

He said “safe communities translate into economic growth.”

MacDougall said the Town of Lexington has experienced “banner annexations. In 2016, we had 16 annexations, encompassing 325 acres of property.

The Town has seen substantial growth and now encompasses 10.69 total square miles, up from 6.37 in the year 2000.”

Lexington Mayor Steve MacDougall.

“Lexington has had a 17.7 percent increase in the past three years, watching the number of businesses boom from 3,000 to 3,600,” MacDougall said. “Furthermore, we had a 25 percent increase in gross sales during the same time frame, catapulting from $1.5 billion to $1.9 billion.”

MacDougall also lauded the launching of the town’s Adaptive Computerized Signalization System.

“Currently, we have 12 signals that are “live”, meaning they have been converted over to “real time” control in place of “analog rotation,” he said.

The affected intersections include: Main St at Church St and Lake Drive; W. Main Street at Park Rd and Old Chapin Rd.; Columbia Ave at Butler St.; US 378 (Sunset Blvd.); and intersections: Corley Mill Road;/ Leaphart Road; Cromer Road/Lott Court; I-20 Westbound Ramp/Northside Boulevard/ I-20 Eastbound Ramp

MacDougall said “work continues on completing the last seven signals for Phase I, as the contractor is installing fiber communications between each signal and up fitting the intersections with mast arms. The completed project will include 35 total signals.”

This high tech traffic management system is designed to help alleviate traffic congestion by monitoring and synchronizing traffic signals to balance traffic flow.

MacDougall also referenced a USDA Grant of $720,000 dollars to clean up the areas around the Old Mill Pond Dam and Gibson Pond Dam. The goal of the cleanup was to remove debris and downed trees along with rock and sediment to prevent reverse flooding. He said. the town is continuing to work with FEMA to rebuild the Old Mill Dam and bring the pond back to full capacity, although FEMA funding is not assured, despite the town’s plan for a scenic walking trail that encircles the pond, for public use.

MacDougall said the town broke ground on expanding its Prescott Glen Pump Station to add approximately 2.5 Miles of a 12″ and 18″ sewer force main and 1.5 miles of 20-inch gravity line that will be installed from Prescott Glen and will account for future growth.

On the topic of alleviating traffic congestion, MacDougall said the town’s leadership will focus on downtown improvements, including the transition to one-way corridor streets along Lake Drive and Church Street. He also said the plan is elimination of the left turn

signal phase South Lake Drive onto East Main Street, with the left turn prohibitions in the downtown area eliminated.

MacDougall said the town will construct a 250-space parking lot along South Church Street to serve the Lexington Municipal Complex, Palmetto Collegiate Institute, Virginia Hylton Park and the Icehouse Amphitheater.

Using funds from the two-percent Hospitality Tax, the town will address traffic at Ginny Lane and make improvements at I-20 and Sunset Blvd.

MacDougall said an announcement is pending regarding improvements on the I-20 Westbound Ramp to reduce or eliminate travelers exiting the ramp and crossing multiple lanes of traffic in attempt to make a left turn at Ginny Lane.

Other improvement projects include: The Cromer Road Pump Station, that is being designed to increase the wastewater pumping capacity to 12.5million gallons a day. and improvements to the East Main Street waterline with sidewalk replacement on the right side of East Main Street.

The town is also working on a sewer rehab project, consisting of relining old sewer mains and sealing manholes to prevent infiltration from heavy rain events into the sewer system.

Another capital improvement project. MacDougall said, will be the construction of a new Town maintenance facility.

The Town is planning a face lift to Virginia Hylton Park and  MacDougal said the town is working with FEMA and SCDHEC to design a new Gibson Pond Dam.

MacDougall ended by referencing several community events slated for 2017 including: the Flashlight Easter Egg Hunt Carnival; Movies in the Park; and Snowball Festival

Lexington will also host the 2016 Big South Conference Baseball Championship at the Lexington County Stadium.

Other events include: Special Needs Community Day; Kid’s Day of Lexington; the inaugural season of Lexington’s Live spring concert series; Wine Walk; the Town of Lexington Farmers Market; National Night Out; Downtown Jams; and Fall Fest.

MacDougal said the town is currently upgrading its website to be a friendly and interactive page by this summer.

“We are truly amazed by how many projects that have come to fruition since we implemented the Vision Plan less than five years ago,” MacDougall said.