Mayor Senn to Present to Fellowship of SC Mayors on Resilient City Planning

February 13, 2023
Laurens Mayor Nathan Senn has been invited to present Laurens’ recent successes to mayors from across the state in Charleston on Thursday as part of the Riley Mayor’s Design Fellowship. Senn will address the mayors selected as the 2023 class of Riley Fellows and share the challenges and success which the city of Laurens has experienced since he himself participated as a fellow in early 2020.
“It is truly a great honor to be asked to come back, but this time sharing the story of our progress,” said Mayor Senn. “I believe being asked to share our experience with other mayors is a testament to just how far we have come in such a short amount of time, and I am proud that Laurens is recognized as helping to set the standard in this state for responsible, sustainable growth.”
The Riley Fellowship is named for the City of Charleston’s former mayor, Joseph P. Riley, who served from 1976 until 2016. After leaving office, Riley founded the Mayor’s Institute for City Design and Riley Mayor’s Design Fellowship, both of which serve to equip local leaders across the state of South Carolina and the United States with collaborative input from planning professionals, scholars, graduate students, non-profit organizations, and other elected officials to help address the individual challenges affecting their cities.
This year, the mayors who have been selected as the new class of fellows are Mayor Stephen Murray of Beaufort, Mayor Teresa Myers Ervin of Florence, Mayor Quendolyn Etheridge of Ridge Spring, Mayor Rockey Burgess of Williamston, and Mayor Mike Fuesser of York. Just as when Mayor Senn attended the fellowship in 2020, these cities have all been visited by teams of graduate students from the Clemson University Resilient Urban Design masters program. Over the course of their studies, these graduate students carefully examined each of the five cities’ challenges, assessed their resources, and developed recommended plans which will be presented by the new class of fellows at this year’s conference. In turn, city planning and design professionals, non-profit organizations, other elected leaders, and a variety of professors and professionals will give feedback on the proposed plans for each city. Working in collaboration with the 2023 Fellows, the group assists each mayor in developing workable plans to improve their city.
In addition to the 2023 Fellows’ presentations, these mayors will also hear from speakers who may serve as resources and are respected as leaders in their fields. Laurens’ recent successes using planning and design as an effective tool for economic development is widely recognized and celebrated across the state of South Carolina, and so Mayor Senn was asked to share his experiences with his fellow mayors as they seek to implement similar strategies for growth and community development.
“I can honestly say that many of the positive changes we see in the city today are a result of lessons I learned as a fellow in this program,” said Mayor Senn. “Mayor Riley and I share the same belief that the things we build today, whether it be parks or neighborhoods, should pass the 50-year test, and if possible, the 150-year test. We want a city that the next generation is just as proud of tomorrow as we are of our home today.”