Letter To The Editor: Marina Improvement Not A Frivolous Expense

Dear Editor,

The Marina needs to be improved. This is not a frivolous expense. If we are going to apply the “when the next hurricane hits” mentality, please use the same logic with regard to the accident-waiting-to-happen at the Marina.

It’s unlikely money is going to get cheaper to borrow; it’s also unlikely that the cost to build and renovate is going to go down. So as the city’s asset continues to deteriorate, the cost to repair it is likely to increase. Kind of like the drainage referendum that was voted down in 1995. Not to mention the cost of a lawsuit when someone does get hurt.

The current council, including some candidates running for office, have ensured the city is well positioned financially to address a disaster. Could we save more? Sure. Could my wife and I have squirreled away all the college tuition for our three children, at the expense of summer vacations? Absolutely. But we didn’t, and guess what? We have three educated children, along with wonderful memories of family trips.

Segueing into family memories…the proposed enhancements are undeniably geared towards the residents. The proposed plan includes the addition of 44 golf cart spaces, a pedestrian walkway, a community dock and launch for personal, unmotorized watercraft, and priority slip rental for residents. Local use, lifelong memories.

With regard to the “I want it to stay the way it is,” the “it wasn’t like this growing up here” mentality…everything has changed. You can’t clear-cut Mt. Pleasant, fill it with residences that advertise “10 Minutes to the Beach!” and not expect tourists (and coyotes!) to show up.

We can’t control that. We live on an island 25 minutes from Conde Nast’s “Number One City in the World.”

They’re going to come, and we need them. It’s a balance. Making necessary infrastructure repairs, addressing traffic flow and safety issues at the Marina is not going to attract more tourists. However, they are paying for a good deal of it. The cost of the proposed renovation is being paid by accommodations tax and tenant rents, not residents’ tax dollars.

Finally, please don’t believe everything you see on social media. For instance, the Marina lease did in fact go out on bid, originally in 1998, and again in 2006. Furthermore, the IOP Marina tenant does have financial responsibly for several aspects of the property, such as everything under the roof of the aging market building, including the roof. And comparing the IOP Marina lease to that of the Charleston City Marina lease is not comparing apples to apples. There are two sides to every story, and the truth usually lies somewhere near the middle. Please consider voting for the Marina Referendum.

Tom Wood

Isle of Palms

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