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Oct 27 2017

Letter To The Editor: In Support Of The Marina Referendum

Dear Editor

I am writing to convey my strong support for the Isle of Palms Marina enhancement and community revitalization bond issue that will appear on the ballot this November. In doing so, I applaud the City of Isle of Palms, the mayor, council members, and citizens, who have been engaged in planning this much needed, and substantial revitalization and beautification initiative, which of course, very importantly will be done without raising taxes.

I have spent a part of every summer of my life on the Isle of Palms. The first home my parents owned was a small cottage on the island, which was built before I was born.

From childhood to now, my heart is filled with wonderful memories of the island, its citizens, and its many assets. In 1967 Charlotte and I bought a lot on the island, and in 1972 our home was completed, and is where we spend six weeks of every summer. For us, one of the many advantages of being on the island is the access to the intracoastal waterways, surrounding inlets, creeks, marshes, and beaches. We love this wonderful ecosystem from Charleston Harbor to Bulls Bay. I liken it to a national park, and we feel so fortunate to have convenient access to such a wonderful resource.

We have used the Marina since its infancy, and agree that it is time for a revitalization and beautification. There are many distinct advantages to this well thought out plan. I will list only a few:

1. There will be new, clearly designated, pedestrian paths throughout the facility including in the parking lots and boat ramp area. This is important because it greatly enhances public safety. Currently the many uses of the marina, from getting gas, to going to the marina store or restaurant, to launching boats, or going down to the docks, has people of all ages walking around the many components of the facility. Without clearly designated walking paths, it is an accident waiting to happen. With so many people going in different directions, and the cars with trailers and boats, it can be very dangerous. The new plan has clear and safely delineated places to walk and not to walk. This is extremely important and will avoid injuries to users.

2. There will be a waterfront promenade around the Marina site. Most valuable, I believe, to the citizens of the City of Isle of Palms is the promenade that will run along the Marina property, parallel to the intracoastal waterway. Along the path there will be benches, swings, water fountains, and more, that will become a much-valued, new public amenity to be enjoyed by the residents.

Sitting on one of the benches and looking out at the beautiful waterfront will be such a joy, whether early in the morning with the sun rising to the east, or in the evening with the sun sinking past the horizon. All day you’ll be able to enjoy watching the activity from small sailboats to outboards and larger boats plying the water, the porpoises swimming around, and the cool breeze sweeping over.

An urban designer once wrote, “the water is magic”, and walking adjacent to the water or sitting and watching the variety of activities, the color and light, will be extraordinary. This will be a new and valued asset to the citizens of Isle of Palms.

3. There will also be new sidewalks along 41st Avenue, as well as substantial public parking, bicycle racks and additional golf cart parking. Currently there are only 10 golf cart spots and under the new plan there will be 44. I believe that permanent residents will benefit from this tremendously.

4. Lastly there will be extensive landscaping and other beautification efforts that will make the Marina a much more beautiful part of Isle of Palms picturesque scenery.

Because of these and many more assets that are a part of this project, I believe this is a wise and much needed investment, and as I said, can be done without raising taxes. I believe when completed it will make the Isle of Palms an even more wonderful place to live.

Most sincerely yours,

Joseph P. Riley, Jr.,

Mayor of Charleston (1975-2016)

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