Senior Medicare Advantage plan insurance in Summerville, SC

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Helping Seniors Make Better-Informed Medicare Decisions

Trying to pick a health insurance plan can be a chore for anyone. For many people, just mentioning the word "open enrollment" sends shivers down the spine. It seems like there's always a nagging feeling that you're wasting money, choosing a plan with poor in-network care, or both. One would think that health insurance gets easier as you approach retirement age, but the truth is that picking an initial Medicare coverage plan can be daunting.

Unfortunately, the confusing process of signing up for Medicare causes many seniors to forego healthcare coverage altogether. After all, Medicare enrollment can involve several federal agencies, including the Social Security Administration (or SSA) and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (or CMS).

At Senior Medicare Insurance Services, our passion is guiding seniors through the confusion of Medicare. That way, they can enjoy retirement with peace of mind knowing they are protected and ready for life after 65. We work with dozens of insurance companies, giving our clients the chance to choose a plan that best fits their lifestyle.

We choose to design our senior insurance plans with a focus on optimal benefits structure, lower costs, and personalized service. Some independent insurance agencies see their aging customers as nothing more than a financial transaction waiting to happen. In contrast, we treat each of our clients with respect and dignity as we help them navigate the confusing waters of Medicare. Combined with individualized service, we help older Americans make well-informed decisions about insurance. Whether you're in need of senior Medicare Supplement Plan insurance in Summerville or simply have questions about signing up for Medicare, our team is here to help.

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Medicare Summerville, SC

Guiding You Through The Confusion of Medicare!

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What is Medicare?

If you're approaching the golden years of your life, it's important you understand what Medicare is if you don't already.

Medicare is a federal health insurance program reserved for people older than 65 who have worked full-time for at least ten years. The Medicare program is paid for by a combination of worker payroll tax, premiums paid by Medicare enrollees, and the U.S. government.

There are four parts of Medicare:

 Senior Medicare Advantage Plan Insurance Summerville, SC

This type of Medicare is free for most U.S. citizens. Medicare Part A helps older adults pay for care in a nursing facility, hospital visits, and some forms of in-home senior care.

This tier costs around $100 per month. It covers different outpatient services like lab tests, preventative care, doctor's visits, mental health care, clinical trials, and some forms of surgery.

This type of Medicare is most often called Medicare Advantage. This tier of Medicare allows seniors to choose health plans provided by insurance companies like Senior Medicare Insurance Services. Individuals who use Medicare Advantage commonly use Medicare supplement plan insurance to help pay for health care costs that Original Medicare won't cover, like coinsurance, deductibles, and copayments.

Sometimes called "PDPs," these plans add drug coverage to standard Medicare, some Medicare Private Fee-for-Service Plans (PFFS), some Medicare Cost Plans, and Medicare Medical Savings Account Plans (MSA).

The amount of money you pay for your health care depends on several factors, including:

At Senior Medicare Insurance Services, we offer a number of health insurance solutions for seniors. Two of our most used services include Medicare Advantage plan insurance and Medicare supplement plan insurance.

Senior Medicare Supplement Plan Insurance in Summerville

Sometimes called Medigap, the purpose of Medicare Supplement Insurance is to help fill in "gaps" that might not be covered by Original Medicare. You can think of a Medigap policy as a supplement for your Original Medicare benefits.

Private companies like Senior Medicare Insurance Services sell this type of insurance right here in South Carolina. While Original Medicare will pay for much of the cost associated with health care services you need, it may not cover all of your expenses. Generally, Medigap policies do not cover costs stemming from eyeglasses, private-duty nurses, dental care, hearing aids, or long-term care.

Depending on the Medicare Supplement Plan that you choose, it may cover out-of-the-country medical services when you travel abroad. Assuming you have Original Medicare coverage, your policy will cover its share of Medicare-approved health care costs. Once your Original Medicare coverage reaches its limit, your Medigap policy will pay its share of the fees.

Our Medigap policies are drafted to meet your specific needs, and can help cover remaining health care costs such as:

Deductibles

Copayments

Coinsurance

Important Information About Senior Supplement Plan Insurance

To dispel some confusion, you should know that a Medigap policy is not the same as a Medicare Advantage Plan. The latter helps you receive Medicare benefits, while the former supplements the benefits you obtain through your Original Medicare plan. As you begin to explore Medicare Supplement Insurance Plans, keep the following important information in mind:

 Senior Medicare Plans Summerville, SC

As you begin to explore Medicare Supplement Insurance Plans, keep the following important information in mind:

  • To qualify for a Medigap policy, you must first have Medicare Part A and Medicare Part B.
  • Payments on your Medicare Supplement Insurance Plan will be made to the private insurance company that you choose, like Senior Medicare Insurance Services. These payments are made every month and are paid in addition to the monthly payment you make for Medicare Part B.
  • If you are the holder of a Medicare Advantage Plan, it is illegal for an insurance company to sell you a senior Medicare Supplement Policy. If you plan on switching back to an Original Medicare plan, you may be able to purchase a Medigap policy.
  • If you have health problems as you age, your standardized Medigap policy is guaranteed to be renewable. So long as you pay your monthly premium, your insurance provider cannot cancel your policy.
  • Medigap policies only cover one person. If you have a spouse or family member that would like coverage, they must purchase a separate policy.
  • You may only buy a Senior Medicare Supplement Plan from an insurance agent that is licensed to sell them in your state. Senior Medicare Insurance Services has been licensed to sell Medigap policies in South Carolina for years. We have helped countless seniors get the Medicare coverage they need and continue to do so to this day.
  • In the past, Medigap policies were able to cover costs related to prescription drugs. As of January 1st, 2006, prescription drug coverage is not available on Medicare Supplement Plans. The best way to get coverage for your prescription drugs is to join a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan, often called Part D. Contact our office today to learn more about paying premiums on Medigap and Medicare plans.

For many people, the best time to buy senior Medicare Supplement Plan Insurance in Summerville is during the 7 months Medigap Open Enrollment Period. This period starts the day you turn 65 years old, so long as you hold Medical Insurance (Medicare Part B). Generally, during the enrollment period, you get more policy choices and better pricing. Once the enrollment period is over, you may not be able to purchase a Medigap policy. Contact Senior Medicare Insurance Services today to determine if you qualify for a Medicare Supplement Insurance Plan.

Senior Medicare Advantage Plan Insurance in Summerville, SC

A Medicare Advantage Plan is a kind of Medicare health coverage designed to provide seniors with all their Part A and Part B Medicare benefits. Many Medicare Advantage Plans will often include coverage of the following:

 Medicare Plans Summerville, SC

In addition, most Medicare Advantage Plans give seniors coverage for their prescription drug needs. When you enroll in a Medicare Advantage Plan through Senior Medicare Insurance Services, your Medicare benefits are covered through your plan and will not be paid for by traditional Medicare.

How Medicare Advantage Plans Work

Sometimes called "MA Plans" or "Part C," Medicare Advantage Plans are considered an "all in one" solution to Original Medicare. Senior Medicare Advantage Plans are only offered by private companies that are approved, like Senior Medicare Insurance Services. Seniors who enroll in a Medicare Advantage Plan are still on Medicare. However, these individuals enjoy bundled plans that give seniors the benefits of hospital insurance (Medicare Part A), medical insurance (Medicare Part B), and sometimes drug coverage (Part D).

Medicare Advantage Plans are very popular because they cover all Medicare services and make life a little easier for seniors who have trouble understanding the nuances of Medicare.

When you contact Senior Medicare Insurance Services to choose your Medicare Advantage Plan, ask your agent about Medicare prescription drug coverage. Unless you already have drug coverage (Part D), you should seriously consider Part D coverage to help reduce costs associated with prescription drugs. You may also want to consider a Medicare Supplement Insurance Plan to help fill gaps in coverage that Original Medicare will not cover.

 Senior Health Insurance Summerville, SC

Medicare Advantage Plan Insurance Rules

Medicare works by paying a set amount of money to the companies that offer senior Medicare Advantage Plan insurance in Summerville. That money is used to pay for the care services that you need. Because Medicare Advantage Plans are different, you should expect out-of-pocket costs to vary depending on the plan you choose.

Different plans have different rules for how you receive services, such as:

  • If you must go to facilities, suppliers, or doctors that belong to your Advantage Plan for non-urgent and non-emergency care.
  • Whether you must get a referral to see a specialized doctor
 Healthcare Summerville, SC

Companies that offer Medicare Advantage Plans must follow strict rules, which are set by Medicare and can change every year.

Paying for Your Senior Medicare Advantage Plan Insurance

How much you pay for your Medicare Advantage Plan varies and depends on a few different factors. In most cases, if you need a kind of medical service, you will need to rely on the doctors and providers in your plan's service area and network to pay the lowest amounts. In some cases, if you choose to use a service outside of your plan's network of coverage, you may have to pay out-of-pocket.

We encourage you to contact our office today to learn more about Medicare Advantage Plans, how they work, what your options are, and how often you will have to pay out-of-pocket, if at all.

 Burial Insurance Summerville, SC

The Senior Medicare Insurance Services Commitment

Since our company was founded, we have led the insurance industry by providing our clients with the most valuable, helpful insurance solutions available. We are fully committed to our current and prospective clients by:

  • Choosing to focus on personalized, one-on-one service. When you work with our team, know that we will always design your health insurance plan with your best interests in mind.
  • Listening to your specific needs.
  • Responding to all inquiries and questions promptly and with a friendly attitude.
  • Providing you with the best customer service in the senior health insurance industry, whether you have questions or are ready to move forward with a Medicare plan.
 Medicare Advantage Summerville, SC

Our mission is to help give seniors the best Medicare assistance available so that they may understand the Medicare process and make an informed health coverage decision. We have the knowledge, skills, and experience to assist anyone interested in Medicare. Our personal goal is to become a lifetime resource for our clients and give them greater confidence in choosing their insurance plans.

Latest News in Summerville, SC

Summerville senior living facility to close; residents have to vacate

SUMMERVILLE, S.C. (WCBD) – Residents at a Summerville senior living community are having to make other arrangements to find a new home during the holiday season.Damien Rend’s mother lives at the Retreat at Summerville – he said she was recently given a letter stating that she will have to leave the property because it is being sold.Rend told News 2 that he’s not so much concerned about the fact that the property was sold, but it’s the timing of what is happening that has bothered him the most....

SUMMERVILLE, S.C. (WCBD) – Residents at a Summerville senior living community are having to make other arrangements to find a new home during the holiday season.

Damien Rend’s mother lives at the Retreat at Summerville – he said she was recently given a letter stating that she will have to leave the property because it is being sold.

Rend told News 2 that he’s not so much concerned about the fact that the property was sold, but it’s the timing of what is happening that has bothered him the most.

“My mom is in her late 70s. She unfortunately has reached a stage in life where she can no longer self-manage,” he said. “And so early in 2023, we reached out to move her into The Retreat at Summerville.”

Rend said he has been very happy with her care there. Then came the end of November.

“In a letter dated November 29 we were given a notice, presumably from Phoenix, the senior living facility that owns The Retreat at Summerville,” he said.

That letter stated the property was being sold and that all residents would have to be out by January 5.

Rend says it is not easy to find a facility like this, and it is even more difficult to have to do that during the holidays.

The notice said residents will be given a $500 credit on their bill, and prorated fees based on the day the resident moves out.

“You throw somebody like that that level of uncertainty — that’s just morally unconscionable. In my opinion, it may be the legal thing to do but it’s certainly morally unconscionable.”

He said if they had even known a few months ago, residents wouldn’t have to be going through this over the holidays.

Phoenix Senior Living, the company that runs the facility, sent News 2 a statement:

“The owner of the Retreat of Summerville made the difficult decision to sell the community and notified us that the buyer does not plan to operate it as a senior living community. We realize this transition profoundly impacts our residents and their families, especially during the holiday season. The health and safety of our residents is our top priority. As the manager of this community, we provided the proper notification of the owner’s decision to our current residents and local and state agencies. Additionally, we partnered with local senior living communities to assist families with finding alternative placements. We are committed to ensuring a smooth transition and will continue to provide all needed care services until all residents are successfully relocated.”

9 Christmas parades happening across the tri-county this weekend

SUMMERVILLE, S.C. (WCBD) – The holiday season is in full swing and several holiday parades are happening this weekend to get you into the spirit.Goose Creek, Mount Pleasant, Summerville, Awendaw, Hollywood, Folly Beach, Ridgeville, and Lincolnville and the Parade of Boats are scheduled for Saturday and Sunday.But the forecast may put a little damper on the festive fun. While most parades happen rain or shine, Storm Team 2 says there are showers and thunderstorms in the forecast on Sunday afternoon and evening. Wind gusts ...

SUMMERVILLE, S.C. (WCBD) – The holiday season is in full swing and several holiday parades are happening this weekend to get you into the spirit.

Goose Creek, Mount Pleasant, Summerville, Awendaw, Hollywood, Folly Beach, Ridgeville, and Lincolnville and the Parade of Boats are scheduled for Saturday and Sunday.

But the forecast may put a little damper on the festive fun. While most parades happen rain or shine, Storm Team 2 says there are showers and thunderstorms in the forecast on Sunday afternoon and evening. Wind gusts up to 30 or 40 mph are expected Sunday and Sunday night.

Goose Creek will kick the weekend off with its parade on Saturday at 9:30 a.m. Organizers say the parade will travel along St. James Avenue and ends at Marilyn Street. Road closures will begin at 7:00 a.m., and the city has set a rain date for December 16.

Folly Beach will hold its Christmas parade along Center Street at noon on Saturday. The city will also hold a menorah lighting at Folly River Park later that afternoon at 5:00 p.m. – and make plans for the new year with the annual Flip Flop Drop happening on New Year’s Eve.

The Town of Ridgeville’s parade is also scheduled for noon on Saturday. Float line up begins at South Main and Dorchester Streets and the route will travel straight to the old Clay Elementary School.

Residents in Awendaw can enjoy the town’s Christmas parade on Saturday from 2:00 p.m. until 4:00 p.m. The parade will begin at the Seewee Outpost and travels on Seewee Road to Goodwine Circle.

Spectators will enjoy vintage cars, local celebrities tossing candy, marching bands, and even Santa Claus in the fire engine!

Lincolnville’s Christmas parade and tree lighting take place on Saturday. The parade begins at 4:00 p.m. and will march from W. Pine Street to W. Carolina Street, W. Boundary Street to Slidel Street, Smith Street to Lincoln Avenue, and back to W. Pine.

The tree lighting will take place at town hall on W. Broad Street at 6:00 p.m. There, you’ll enjoy refreshments, a marshmallow roast, food trucks, music, and Santa.

A lineup of lighted and festive boats will lead the Holiday Parade of Boats on Saturday night. The parade will take place on the Cooper River, through Charleston Harbor, and into the Ashley River. The best point of view from Charleston Harbor is 6:00 p.m.

Summerville’s parade on Sunday is set to the theme of Christmas movies this year. It starts on W. 4th Street North at 2:00 p.m., travels south on Main Street, west on W. Richardson Ave., and north on N. Hickory Street.

Arrive early and enjoy some holiday shopping or have a bite to eat in downtown Summerville. Organizers have set a rain date for December 17th.

The Town of Hollywood has set its parade for Sunday at 2:00 p.m. at Hollywood Town Center. They also have a carnival party happening on Saturday from 12:00 p.m. until 6:00 pm.

Finally, the Town of Mount Pleasant’s annual Christmas Light Parade will take place Sunday at 5:30 p.m. The parade begins with a firework display, and then floats, bands and more will march down Coleman Boulevard to Patriots Point Road. The parade is expected to continue rain or shine, but organizers say they will halt the event if it weather poses a safety threat.

Construction begins on 278-unit community in Summerville

Construction has begun on Marlowe Summerville, a 278-unit rental complex on a 27.9-acre site in Summerville.It is the first foray into South Carolina for The Resmark Companies, a Los Angeles-based real estate investment management company, which is partnering with Greystar Real Estate Partners, a Charleston-headquartered investment and development company with offices across the country and on four...

Construction has begun on Marlowe Summerville, a 278-unit rental complex on a 27.9-acre site in Summerville.

It is the first foray into South Carolina for The Resmark Companies, a Los Angeles-based real estate investment management company, which is partnering with Greystar Real Estate Partners, a Charleston-headquartered investment and development company with offices across the country and on four continents.

Marlowe is a Greystar brand marketed as “suburban luxury living.” The Summerville project on N. Main Street and College Park Road is the first Marlowe brand in the state, according to a news release.

“We are excited to make our first investment in the Charleston MSA with Greystar, a long-term and trusted partner,” Ziv Cohen, chief investment officer of Resmark, said in the news release. “Having worked together for a decade, we recognize that Greystar brings rigorous attention to design, quality and detail that results in great consumer response and community acceptance.”

Pre-leasing at Marlowe Summerville is expected to begin next fall, according to Stephen O’Neil, senior vice president for investments at Resmark. The community will offer amenities including a clubhouse equipped with a fitness center and co-working spaces, resort-style pool, grilling stations, pickleball courts, dog park and outdoor dog wash, as well as a grand central amenity lawn with shuffleboard, cornhole and a community garden.

O’Neil said in the release that Resmark was drawn to the site because of “Summerville’s location as a top-tier suburban market near Charleston, its attractive demographics, access to commuting routes and rapidly expanding employer base are all factors that underscore a strong outlook for multifamily development.”

The company also pointed to the site’s proximity to Camp Hall 10 miles away, a 7,000-acre commerce park that has attracted nearly $5 billion in investment and projected to create as many as 1,500 jobs for workers who will need a place to live, the release said.

Related article: Work begins on newest Camp Hall industrial building in Ridgeville

“Summerville is a highly desirable submarket twenty miles northwest of downtown Charleston that is attracting young professionals and families drawn to its quality of life and historic charm,” Ben Liebetrau, managing director of development for Greystar Development and Construction Services. “As we are headquartered in Charleston, we are extremely pleased to bring Greystar’s Marlowe brand to our backyard.”

Of the 278 rental homes, 263 will be constructed in 10 separate three-story walk-up garden-style buildings. Fifteen two-story townhomes, each with a fenced yard and attached garage, will be located in two separate buildings. Ranging in size from 560 square feet to 2,114 square feet, the project unit mix will include 16 studios, 127 one-bedrooms, 118 two-bedrooms and 17 three-bedrooms, the release stated. Each unit will offer features such as granite countertops, wood-like luxury vinyl flooring and stainless-steel appliances.

Resmark is a real estate investment manager that provides capital to homebuilders, land developers and multifamily developers across the country.

Bugs, blood & beatings: Docs reveal claims against Summerville youth facility

SUMMERVILLE, S.C. (WCSC) - Newly obtained documents show dozens of complaints have been filed in recent years against a Summerville youth treatment facility, alleging there are bugs, abuse, dangerously low staffing levels, violent fights and blood and vomit smeared throughout the building.Mary Wilcox’s grandson spent time in that facility, Palmetto Summerville Behavioral Health, earlier this year.“Terror” is how she describes her feelings about the residential facility, which is for children and teens ages 7-1...

SUMMERVILLE, S.C. (WCSC) - Newly obtained documents show dozens of complaints have been filed in recent years against a Summerville youth treatment facility, alleging there are bugs, abuse, dangerously low staffing levels, violent fights and blood and vomit smeared throughout the building.

Mary Wilcox’s grandson spent time in that facility, Palmetto Summerville Behavioral Health, earlier this year.

“Terror” is how she describes her feelings about the residential facility, which is for children and teens ages 7-18 with emotional and behavioral issues.

Her 13-year-old grandson was admitted to the youth residential treatment facility earlier this year.

For weeks, he stayed locked behind the doors of the facility; for weeks he recounted the horror and violence to his grandmother; and for weeks, Wilcox said she fought to get him out.

“[He] was abused in ways that most parents would say would be the worst thing to happen to their child,” Wilcox says.

During phone calls with his grandmother and an in-person visit, he detailed vicious fights, sexual assaults and abuse.

“He was struggling to deal with what was going on, and he attempted to escape,” Wilcox said. “He was handled by a staff member who slammed his head into a chain link fence causing a gash, causing blood to drop down his face.”

Her grandson’s story is not the first troubling one that has been shared. Nearly 200 pages of documents obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request for complaints against the facility in the past few years detail allegations of what some say erupts in the hallways and common areas and what hides, tucked away in patients’ rooms.

The dozens of complaints filed describe alleged bug infestations, inadequate staffing, filthy conditions, overmedicating and a prison-like environment.

One complaint says a staff member attacked a patient.

“On the video, it was observed that a staff member placing [redacted] into a choke hold and then it is observed on camera that same staff member punching [redacted] six times once [redacted] is taken down to the ground,” the complaint states.

Another states a patient was so heavily medicated they fainted. In a different complaint, an employee is accused of grabbing a patient by the shirt, pulling them down and kneeing them in the face.

“It does not surprise me at all,” Wilcox says. “My grandson communicated similar conditions to me. It is very alarming that this happened to my grandson; it’s alarming that children are in the facility still.”

One complaint alleges the facility frequently only has one nurse on duty with 60 patients and was so short-staffed they couldn’t provide proper treatment.

Another states there have been “numerous human rights violations” and claims patients are refused medical treatment and prescriptions.

“Supervisors explicitly tell staff to ‘treat them like prisoners because they are here for punishment’ rather than treating the patients with compassion as they go through treatment,” the complaint states.

Another complaint describes cockroaches and ants crawling around and blood and vomit smeared inside.

“[Palmetto Summerville] should be investigated,” Wilcox says. “They need to be checked out. They need to be monitored, and they need to be held accountable.”

The State Department of Health and Environmental Control is the agency responsible for investigating complaints against health facilities like Palmetto Summerville. It can also penalize them.

“When there is noncompliance with the licensing standards, the facility must submit an acceptable written plan of correction to DHEC that must be signed by the administrator and returned by the date specified on the report of inspection/investigation,” an email from DHEC states. “When DHEC determines that a facility is in violation of any statutory provision, rule, or regulation relating to the operation or maintenance of such facility, DHEC, upon proper notice to the licensee, may impose a monetary penalty, and deny, suspend, or revoke licenses.”

Last month, DHEC investigated two complaints against Palmetto Summerville, but no violations were cited, according to officials. In August, however, the facility was fined $19,000 for nine violations.

“DHEC executed a consent order with the facility in August after it was determined that it was appropriate to impose a civil monetary penalty for violations of Regulation 61-103,” the email from DHEC states.

Some of those violations, documents show, include failing to have a registered nurse immediately accessible by phone and available within 30 minutes, failing to notify DHEC of a serious accident or incident within 24 hours, failing to make sure residents were free from harm and failing to make sure medications were available for administration.

“[Patients] are further traumatized,” Wilcox says. “They are further placed into a downward spiral by being in these facilities.”

That downward spiral and that trauma, she says, prevent any effective treatment for the children who spend time at Palmetto Summerville and similar facilities.

Some studies show that could be right.

One study shows there’s not enough research to know if the interventions — therapy, activities and treatments — inside these facilities are effective or an effective use of money.

“We also don’t know a lot about what the, what treatments they’re actually getting because we don’t necessarily see the day-to-day life of these kids in these facilities,” Roderick Rose, an associate professor at the University of Maryland Baltimore and researcher in the study, says.

A common trend in the facilities: Medication. One study shows about 90 percent of stays at facilities analyzed included an antipsychotic medication, even though only 3 percent of patients were diagnosed with a psychotic disorder.

“You also see just a lot of medicating children,” Rose says.

For her grandson, Wilcox believes the best treatment has been being back home. He’s in school and playing basketball and is doing better. The trauma from the facility still lingers, however, and Wilcox says she prays other children can get the help they need outside of the gates of Palmetto Summerville.

“I am so very grateful that he is one child that escaped being in the situation he was in long,” she says. “Other children, as well, to be rescued, which is a most appropriate word. They need to be rescued from these facilities.”

Norman Bradley, the director of risk management and performance improvement for Palmetto Summerville Behavioral Health released this statement:

Due to HIPAA patient privacy laws, we cannot offer comment on specific patients or their care.

Palmetto Summerville Behavioral Health takes all allegations of abuse seriously and completes full investigations as warranted. Any and all allegations required to be reported to the Department of Health and Environmental Control have been done, and necessary action plans have been implemented to address the issues raised. Recent site visits by DHEC have been positive and have resulted in no findings.

Palmetto Summerville Behavioral Health is a residential treatment facility for girls and boys ages 7 to 18, in need of a highly structured, therapeutic environment. Our patient satisfaction scores reflect the care that is delivered by our compassionate and dedicated team.

Copyright 2023 WCSC. All rights reserved.

Summerville mayoral candidates discuss key issues facing the growing town

SUMMERVILLE — With Ricky Waring retiring, the mayoral seat in this growing community 20 miles north of Charleston is up for grabs.The candidates: Dickie Miler, a Summerville native and real estate broker; Russ Touchberry, another Summerville native and current town councilman; and Vickie Fagan, who relocated from Staten Island more than a ...

SUMMERVILLE — With Ricky Waring retiring, the mayoral seat in this growing community 20 miles north of Charleston is up for grabs.

The candidates: Dickie Miler, a Summerville native and real estate broker; Russ Touchberry, another Summerville native and current town councilman; and Vickie Fagan, who relocated from Staten Island more than a decade ago.

The Post and Courier spoke with the mayoral candidates about some of the big issues and concerns residents have in Summerville.

Fate of the old hospital

Miler said the property at 500 N. Main St., which has become a hot-button issue over the past few months, should be preserved. He has been a vocal opponent of the redevelopment of the property but said if there is redevelopment it should be strategic, sensible and promote enough economic vitality to warrant any changes made.

Touchberry hopes to preserve the old hospital as well, acknowledging it’s an important property. He also said its redevelopment can benefit the town and if done right could be a model for how other properties can be remade.

“We’ve lost the look and feel of Summerville on that side of the railroad tracks all the way to I-26,” Touchberry said. “This is an opportunity for us to have this reinvestment and reestablish our brand, which is what made us so special to begin with.”

Fagan also wants the property to be preserved but believes it can be repurposed as is. With all the available parking, the space could be used for emergency personnel, she said.

Growth and development

Miler said he supports a strategic approach to Summerville’s growth and would want to annex all he could on the periphery to protect the town’s border from neighboring cities like North Charleston and Goose Creek, which are also growing quickly.

“If we annex things on the outside, then we can control how we develop on the inside,” Miler said. “When and if we have to move and grow, we do it the way we want to do it, bringing the developer we want to bring in, have the neighborhood designed the way we want it.”

Touchberry pointed out that Summerville’s municipal boundaries are irregular but could be fixed by aligning the town’s comprehensive plan with the plans of Berkeley and Dorchester counties, and making sure all zoning standards line up as well. He added that if the town doesn’t have a strategic annexation plan, Summerville could easily be encircled by other municipalities.

Fagan said she’d like to assemble a task force for growth management and include voices from elected officials, civic groups and businesses. She said she values input from everyone and paying attention to how growth is affecting people in different areas can help the town come up with a plan as a united front.

Traffic and transport

Miler said he would want to incorporate more public transportation and improve sidewalks and bike paths so people can get around without a car.

“Building more roads is not always the answer,” Miler said.

He added he would be willing to reduce the median for some roads and even remove parking spots — like the parallel parking spots on Main Street at Hutchinson Square — so traffic isn’t as backed up.

Touchberry has been advocating for infrastructure improvements, such as sidewalk repairs, but one of his biggest priorities is finding a way to connect the Berlin G. Myers Parkway to Interstate 26 without the need to use, or cross, Main Street. He said he’s working with the Berkeley-Charleston-Dorchester Council of Governments, as well as Berkeley County and the town, to study that corridor and identify solutions.

Touchberry added that the town missed an opportunity in having the Lowcountry Rapid Transit stop in Summerville; the furthest it is planned to go for now is Ladson. He said he’s ready to fight to make sure the second phase is completed, so the workforce in Summerville can use it to get to Charleston and reduce commute time.

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