Mayor says harbor will be focal point of 2014

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) -- In the 38th State of the City address, Charleston Mayor Joe Riley touched on a wide-ranging list of topics, including the big changes to come for the harbor area.

According to Riley, the Charleston harbor is just one of many areas that will see drastic changes in the year to come. In fact, the mayor mentioned most of the multi-million0dollar construction project, saying they were on schedule.{}

On ABC News 4 and in front of packed council chambers, Riley gave his 38th state of the city address. {}

"Our economy is surging. In September, a Charleston company on Daniel Island, BenefitFocus, made its debut on the NASDAQ stock exchange," he said.{}

Last year {}the company announced a $60 million campus expansion and the addition of 1,20 jobs. Riley says their commitment to Daniel Island and Google's announcement of $600 million to the Berkeley County data center solidifies the Charleston Region as Silicon Harbor.

"Four Charleston hi-tech companies made the nation's fastest growing companies list," he said.{}

The mayor also touched on the growing housing industry.

"Last year, new homes were being built in every section of our city. To be exact, the second highest number in city history," Riley said.{}

He says the new year brought an end to a long, drawn out battle over the proposed cruise ship terminal. {} {} {} {} {} {} {} {} {} {} {} {} {} {} {} {} {} {}{}

"The Supreme Court unanimously rejected the almost laughable lawsuit brought by cruise ship opponents. I say almost laughable not lightly," he said.{}

More changes will continue to come to the harbor as the mayor described the continuing dredging project, just one of many projects on the mayor's agenda. All four phases of the massive drainage project will be underway by this fall.

"Needless to say, a lot is happening on the modernizing the City of Charleston's storm water utility system," Riley said.{}

Riley says violent crime also decreased 17 percent, and serious crime has declined over 70 percent in the last seven years, something he says was done through hard work and community engagement.

In his 27-minute speech, Riley mentioned the construction at the Gaillard auditorium, the new facilities for the city's fire department and the plans for a new African American museum.{}