DINA meeting offers updates on police activity, bridge work, DI rec center and more
The Daniel Island Neighborhood Association brought close to 150 locals to the Daniel Island Club for a lengthy meeting on Tuesday, August 28. Led by DINA President Marie Delcioppo, the night gave officials the opportunity to speak to residents about traffic, the recent Wando Bridge closures, law enforcement challenges, and the proposed Daniel Island Community Recreation Center.
COMMUNITY RECREATION CENTER
Although it was last on the agenda, the proposed community center was the hottest topic of the night.
The building itself has taken about three years to plan. According to City of Charleston Director of Parks Jason Kronsberg and Frank Walsh, who serves on a DINA subcommittee for the center, the plan for the structure was created with input from the community. The City of Charleston has a groundbreaking ceremony set for the building in late September.
The new center’s interior design, which was displayed at the meeting, features one full-size basketball court that can be divided into two youth courts, a large multi-purpose room, and several smaller areas for meetings, fitness equipment and other activities.
As reported previously in The Daniel Island News, some local parents believe that there should be another basketball court in the rec center, to allow more kids to practice the sport.
“It’s a critical need by a lot of young families on the island,” island resident Dan Orvin told those gathered at last week’s meeting.
“Do we need more basketball courts?” Walsh asked the room. “That’s in the eye of the beholder. But, we have a building here that has basketball (space)…It has a certain height for a basketball court.”
Pointing to a picture of the rec center plan, Walsh drew the crowd’s attention to the multi-purpose room.
“We could use this room with pull down basketball nets at nine feet for the younger kids, so this room could be used for some basketball activity,” he said.
“This is good news to the families who have felt the impact of the lack of available court space for basketball and volleyball,” said Shawn Pinkston after the meeting. “Not only can the meeting space accommodate regulation basketball goals, it can be converted to a full-sized volleyball court. Given the height of the room, it would be ideal to install retractable goals that can be lowered from the ceiling.”
City of Charleston Councilman Gary White said that the recently presented solution came in response to a meeting he had with several parents within the last few months.
“We always want to be able to provide programming whenever we can,” said White. “I’m happy that they were able to do that, and be able to add more programming space when it’s not being used for meeting room space.”
Walsh stated that they asked for outdoor basketball courts, but there was no room for it in the plans. They also looked into pricing for lights to be added to the existing outdoor courts behind the Daniel Island School, he said. In addition, the subcommittee inquired about the possibility of covering and enclosing the outdoor DIS courts as a way to generate more space, but, according to Kronsberg, that idea proved cost prohibitive.
“This is what they tell us they have in money and in space, and what they can build,” said Walsh, referencing the new center.
Meeting attendant Faith White, who has lived on Daniel Island for 18 years, gave her opinion on the rec center debate.
“This is the first time the homeowners are going to get anything, and we’re concentrating on a basketball court,” she observed. “We don’t have any place that belongs to us…We are begging the city to give us something that should have been here when we first came to Daniel Island.”
White’s comments were met with applause from the audience.
LAW ENFORCEMENT RUNDOWN
In other updates provided at the meeting, Lt. James Byrne of the City of Charleston Police Department announced that Team 5 will begin stepping up their traffic enforcement, especially in downtown Daniel Island.
“We’ve changed patrol teams, we’ve changed force allotments, and I believe 20 officers are being reallocated to a revamped traffic division,” he added.
One of the most consistent crimes on the island continues to be thefts from motor vehicles, said Byrne. “Unfortunately, there are people who are taking advantage of the unlocked vehicles over here on Daniel Island,” he noted.
Following Lt. Byrne’s presentation was an update from Berkeley County Sheriff Duane Lewis, who also spoke about traffic concerns.
“I can’t do anything about the road conditions, but the enforcement and the safety on the highways is an initiative that we’ve had to undertake,” he said, after describing traffic around the county as “a nightmare.”
Lewis also promoted boat safety, pleading with boat drivers and passengers to wear a life vest and tell people where they are going before boating.
“Frankly, I’m overwhelmed sometimes with the amount of calls we get on our lakes and rivers,” he commented.
“There’s a lot of freedom and we want our freedom, but especially with children and a boat, it doesn’t matter how big it is, please make them wear a life jacket,” added Lewis.
The Sheriff informed residents of his lack of space in the Berkeley County jail, a problem that he consistently runs into.
“Right now, we are totally out of space,” he said. “Right now, we have 461 inmates in the jail. The jail is only rated for 291 people.”
Last November, the Berkeley County jail reached a peak of 481 inmates.
Lewis provided much better news when he informed the crowd that since January the inmate work detail has led to 350,000 pounds of trash collected on the county’s highways.
Berkeley County’s Metro Narcotics Unit is working countywide, he added. They’ve made over 300 drug arrests, confiscated over $118,000 in cash, and seized 18 cars.
One citizen at the meeting asked Sheriff Lewis to identify the most common drug seen in Berkeley County. He responded by telling the audience member that meth is less of a problem, but heroin and prescription pills are much more common. He asked attendees to dispose of prescriptions when they no longer need them.
LEGISLATIVE UPDATE FROM REP. NANCY MACE
District 99 Representative Nancy Mace filled audience members in on legislative activities she has been involved in over the last few months.
“When I talk to people in this district, the number one thing I hear about is infrastructure,” Mace mentioned.
She told the audience that I-526 will not be widened until 2030.
Mace also claimed that 72,000- 92,000 vehicles pass from Mt. Pleasant to the I-526 interchange a day. She also provided an update on SCDOT’s Wando Bridge closure, saying that “they are finalizing the maintenance plan.”
DINA BUSINESS MATTERS
During her turn at the podium, Delcioppo urged DINA members to offer input on a variety of matters. The organization is asking residents to tell them what day of the week and time of day that would work best for the annual DINA oyster roast, usually in early December. Delcioppo said that they are also thinking about amending DINA’s bylaws, specifically term limits for officials. She said that she will send an email to DINA members about this and the oyster roast schedule.
In the same follow-up email, Delcioppo will also query residents about their top three community concerns, which she will present to Mayor Tecklenburg at a meeting later this year.
She also encouraged residents interested in providing name suggestions for the new City of Charleston park in Daniel Island Park to visit the following link: https://dineighborhoodassociation.org/a-new-name-for-daniel-island-park-4/. Construction on the new amenity, to be located on Island Park Drive, is expected to begin this month.