North Charleston's fight over rail lines on the former Navy base and shipyard will be a focal point of tonight's 2011 State of the City address.
Mayor Keith Summey also will stress economic growth, on the retail and commercial front, along with a drop in major crime statistics and increases in home construction.
But the duel over the state Department of Commerce's plan to use rail lines from the north end to help serve the new State Ports
Authority terminal at the south end of the city will be a major thrust.
"It does say we need your assistance and to be prepared," Summey said of the 30-minute address he taped ahead of time for playback tonight during the regularly scheduled City Council meeting. The address will be presented at 7 p.m. in council chambers.
"It gives an explanation of where we stand and why we feel we didn't get a fair shake from the state, and where we're going to continue to battle with it," he said of the rail issue.
Summey is trying to get neighborhoods behind his effort to halt the northern rail alternative capable of serving the new port. It's set to go online around 2017.
Other quality-of-life issues to be addressed are the number of businesses that are operating on the former base. "A lot people have said (the base redevelopment has) been a failure," Summey said. "It hasn't been a failure; it hasn't been the success we would like to see on the base."
Summey also will address commercial growth, including two Hyatt hotels that have opened recently, and other hotels that will open near retail areas.
As for city employees, Summey said his message is, "I tell them that 2011 is going to be a challenging year, but we're up to the challenge."