At their informal get-together, representatives from Coast cities talked with Charleston's mayor and his team of experts about zoning, flood issues and mapping out the future of the coast back while preserving our history. "We come today here and tomorrow in New Orleans only as the beginning of our efforts to be of assistance to these communities," says Charleston Mayor Joe Riley.
He says the scale of destruction that Katrina brought to the Coast gives the mayors more of a leadership role to shape their cities in the post hurricane years. "Lots of decisions are going to be made about urban design, the building, the type, the size, the scale, the placement, preserving old buildings, how new buildings are to look, the highways and bridges and so much more," Riley says. Biloxi Mayor A.J. Holloway says, "We want to keep our culture, we want to keep our heritage in place and build back as much as we possibly can. That's gonna be one of the issues we're gonna be facing in the coming months and years is the challenge to rebuild the city."
Mayor Riley says recovering from any disaster creates challenges working with the state and federal governments. His city found that out in 1989 when Hurricane Hugo slammed into Charleston. "We did work well together. We have to work together ya know. I guess it was Franklin who said we're either going to hang together or hang separately and after a hurricane if we don't hang together no tellin' what will happen."
Mayor Riley's Institute on City Design has offered assistance with such planning issues as waterfront and downtown development, transportation and public facilities.