on March 1, 2008 by in Uncategorized, Comments (0)

Clemson Mayor says landscape of city ‘excellent’

Click on the following link to view the “State of Clemson Address”:

“Death, money and accusations”

CLEMSON — Clemson Mayor Larry Abernathy told the audience of more than 300 gathered at the Ramada Inn Friday for the annual “State of Clemson Address” that the landscape of the city is excellent.

But Abernathy went a little further, conducting an imaginary slicing of that landscape in order to further examine the layers contained therein. The mayor first took audience members, consisting of area business and political leaders, below ground.

“A lot of city government takes place below the ground,” Abernathy said, adding, “The city of Clemson is in really good shape underground because of the professional staff and their day to day operations and devotion.”

The mayor then transitioned the audience to ground level, adding that roads, curbs and sidewalks are just some examples of the infrastructure improvements that have occurred in the city in recent years.

“Almost all the streets are in pretty good shape,” he said.

Abernathy said ground level in Clemson also displays what the mayor terms as an “almost ugly free zone.” With the nearly $250 million worth of redevelopment that has occurred in recent years, the mayor said the new downtown parking deck, Gateway Park and his namesake Larry W. Abernathy Waterfront Park have replaced ugly predecessors.

“There are no more rusty trailers, no more crack houses — everything you see is pretty,” Abernathy said. “The city and Clemson University are seamless.”

Though the mayor jokingly noted that his son, Ben, would often call him from locations that included the pressbox at Yankee Stadium or Madison Square Garden, Abernathy feels Clemson has some pretty special sites of its own.

During lunch, the mayor said he often takes a sandwich to the Catherine Smith Plaza and sits on one of the benches. He also visits the park named in his honor to converse with individuals on the boardwalk and is a regular attendee of Clemson baseball games at Doug Kingsmore Stadium. The mayor also cited the refurbished Morrison Annex, which already houses the Clemson Child Development Center and The Arts Center and soon will feature an African-American history museum as other city enhancements.

But Abernathy said there is another level above ground and that is the sky.

“They’re big and healthy, robust and strong,” he said.

Abernathy said the town-gown relationship between the city and Clemson University is listed in the Top 5 nationally — a ranking he feels is too low.

“I think we do it better than anybody,” Abernathy said, citing the sky as his basis for optimism.

But a piece of the sky — home rule — is one Abernathy fears is being endangered.

“That’s a big piece up there that we have no control over,” Abernathy said of the attack that home rule has come under by some members of the General Assembly. “It grieves me, but, fortunately, we have soldiers like Thomas Alexander and B.R. Skelton who have gone down there (to Columbia) to try and change things.

“I promise you it’s going to get better because we have these (political) soldiers.”

Abernathy said he has no doubts that Clemson and Clemson University can be the best in all areas in which they strive.

“Why not? Why not just go around and be the best?” the mayor said. “I’m game and I hope you are.”