City of West Columbia is a model for municipal health – Mayor Tem Miles says unity and cooperation are the keys

Tem Miles was elected mayor of West Columbia in 2019. He was reelected in 2023. Before that, he served 6 years on West Columbia City Council, representing Dist. 4. Miles owns a law firm. He has a wife, Cassie Shea Miles, also an attorney, and 3 daughters, Emma; Cate; and Charlotte.

Mayor Tem Miles on the Power List

“Being mayor of West Columbia is the most fulfilling job in government,” Miles said. He said he has considered running for higher office, but the demands of his business, family and the office of the mayor keep him busy. “I get calls all the time and it’s important to hear from the people of West Columbia,” he said. “I want to make sure they have accurate information.”

In recent years, the city of West Columbia has seen impressive growth and revitalization. From the attraction of new businesses to the makeover of blighted areas, the landscape is becoming more shiny and fresh. Expect that to continue. And despite the healthy growth that is occurring, West Columbia is still a tight-knit community.

“We want the City of West Columbia to maintain its small-town feel,” said Miles. He also said West Columbia is unique in its proximity. “Just across the bridge is the State Capital.” We’re in the middle of a metropolitan area, but there’s still a sense of simplicity and closeness.”

Miles at the C-WC Chamber Business Meeting

Miles noted that while location and economic growth are important, basic services are the top priority of local government.

“We want to continue to provide high-quality necessities to the residents, like water service, trash pick-up, police protection and fire department resources,” Miles said.

The City of West Columbia has some of the lowest water rates in the state. And its services to residents are among the most-efficient. Miles said leadership has something to do with that success. He said it is significant that every incumbent running for city council was reelected in 2023. He also said his job as mayor is to work with city council to find out what the needs are in each district and to discuss issues, come to a consensus, and inform residents.

“We work as a team. And we have city staff to work with the people on the ground who carry out the mission,” he said. Miles also said that the City of West Columbia has a great relationship with state Sen. Nikki Setzler, and that is a benefit. “There is no better champion for this area than Sen. Setzler,” he said.

With a unified body of elected officials, Miles said the infrastructure in each area of West Columbia is being improved and that makes each section of town more appealing for the location of businesses. He also said businesses have responded to the streamlined documentation process they find at the West Columbia City Hall.

What else is coming?

Miles visiting Southeastern Freight Lines

In 2024, the city will move forward with reducing Meeting Street from four lanes to two lanes, from State Street to 9th Street. “We’ll have a real Main Street,” Miles said. “Taking a lane out of that part of Meeting Street will allow for more parking spaces on Meeting Street and an increase in pedestrian and retail traffic.”

Miles said another priority in 2024, is the revitalization of the US 1 (Augusta Road) Corridor. He called it “the heart and soul of West Columbia.”

Also, expect the renderings for the Pedestrian Bridge, to connect Riverwalk, to be released in 2024. That bridge would be built near the Riverbanks Zoo entrance at the end of Botanical Parkway.

In addition to new projects slated for the year, Miles talked about the success of some of the community gathering events, including Kinetic Derby Day (April 20); the Meeting Street Music Festival (Sept. 7); and Art on State (May 10.) “The City of West Columbia sponsors some great festivals and activities that bring the community together for folks to socialize,” he said.

Miles said he anticipates a better and more improved city going forward. “I’m excited about the future in West Columbia and I’m proud, and honored, to be a part of it,” he said.

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