Johnsonville Mayor Steve Dukes

Outgoing Johnsonville Mayor Steve Dukes (right) poses with the train bell he was given for 38 years of service and with city council member Jamie Altman.

JOHNSONVILLE, S.C. — The city of Johnsonville recognized mayor Joseph Stevens Dukes for 38 years of service to the City with an engraved train bell last week at its city council meeting.

Dukes was elected to Johnsonville City Council in 1981 and has been serving as mayor since 2004.

Senior councilman Jamie Altman made the presentation, noting that Dukes is a native of the Johnsonville area and has proudly spent his entire adult life in service to the city.

“Steve has been active his entire career with the Municipal Association of South Carolina to keep Johnsonville in the forefront of state endeavors and to ensure that other municipal leaders knew what Johnsonville was doing,” Altman said. “He is a graduate of the Mayor’s Institute and was able to get the American Institute of Architects to conduct a community-wide planning project here back in the 1990s.”

Altman said community leaders identified three key potential focal points of the city: Lynches River, the area’s history and the need to develop an anchor building downtown to draw more businesses back to that area and instill more pride in the area citizens.

“Under Steve’s leadership, the Heritage Festival moved to the park at the river, and the city received a grant for a major renovation of the boat ramp and landing,” Altman said. “He has worked with the Francis Marion Trail Commission and the Friends of Revolutionary Rivers to promote Johnsonville as a place for river recreation,.

“The commissioning of the statue of Gen. Francis Marion at the landing and the planning of a new municipal complex on Broadway Street to create a focal point for downtown revitalization happened under Steve’s leadership.”

Some other accomplishments in Johnsonville during Dukes’ service include:

» Johnsonville being named a Tree City USA by the Arbor Day Foundation.

» Water and sewer improvements, including the Vox water project.

» Business growth along the S.C. 41/51 corridor.

» The widening of S.C. 41/51 and U.S. 378, making Johnsonville accessible by four-lanes highways from I-95 and I-20.

» Establishment of the Johnsonville Area Chamber of Commerce.

» AIA naming Johnsonville the “Outpost to the Coast.”

» Continued partnerships with Wellman, The Poole Company and other industries.

“I did not do these things by myself,” Dukes said as he accepted the bell. “They were accomplished because I had the backing of council. The citizens and the many people I served with who have passed away also deserve credit.

“I accept the honor you have given me, but I accept it with everyone else here with me.”

Dukes did not seek reelection this year. Mayor Pro Tempore Johnny Hanna was elected mayor for a term of four years on Nov. 5.

The Johnsonville City Council meets at 6:30 p.m. on the first Tuesday of each month at City Hall, and the public is invited to attend.

Each meeting includes a public forum, where anyone present can express their concern for up to five minutes, but council members and the mayor cannot answer questions. Anyone wishing to appear before council for an open discussion must contact the city clerk by 5 p.m. on the Wednesday before the meeting.

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