January 20, 2012 3
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The Folly Current
Island Eye News
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RichardContributorsDenise K. JamesVince PernaDavid CrawfordChristine WilkersonJustin MorrisBonne IsenhourJoel FloresAnton DumarsJud BushkarHeather JohnsonLindsey GrahamBrian SandersPublished byLucky Dog Publishingof South Carolina, LLCP.O. Box 837Sullivan’s Island, SC 29482843-886-NEWS
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ouncil met to discuss thetopics o the Folly Beach Park’srenourishment, as well as electionboards. Mayor Goodwin opened thediscussion by giving the oor to Mr. omO’Rourke, Charleston County Parksand Recreation Commission executivedirector.O’Rourke began by stressing how direthe situation is, and how sad the prospecto erosion is or Folly Beach.“We don’t have time to wait onsomething to happen with the state andthe eds,” he said to council. “We’re goingto go ahead and move orward. Te park is too important, and we have to bring itback. So ar, we’ve gone ahead and askeda coastal engineer to look at our permitsand see about bringing in sand.”O’Rourke emphasized that he didn’tbelieve Folly would receive any “special”money in 2012 to take care o the beach’srenourishment problem.“Honestly, I don’t think we’ll get any money right now, but i we get our regularmoney or 2013 everything should bene,” he said. “I do think we’ll get thatmuch. In the meantime, i it makes senseto the Coastal Engineer we have on board, we’ll do something sooner. We’re ghtingor this. It might be expensive, but we’ll try to move orward and keep you inormed.”O’Rourke next began talking aboutthe possibility o turning the old Sand BarRestaurant into a county-unded lodgingacility.“I’ve been talking about buying anotherproperty on this island,” he announcedto a wary council. “It’s the old Sand Barrestaurant. Te amily wants to git thisproperty to us i we agree to maintain itas it is right now. But I told him we’renot interested in competing with otherrestaurants on the beach.”O’Rourke went on to explain his visionor the old restaurant, which entailed alodging acility or “outdoor adventurer”types who want to visit the Folly area.“What we will do is have a sort o lodge—where people can come, stay ormaybe a week at a time, and do dierentkinds o outdoor activities,” he said. “Tis would be a great stop on the Blue Waterrail. It could be really good or the islandand produce year-round tourists. But noneo this is a done deal yet; we’re just talkingabout it so ar. What we’re working on now are people living there in the apartments who don’t know about any o this yet. Wedo want to give them sufcient time.” At this declaration, the council beganto look very uncomortable and O’Rourketried to smooth their eathers.“It’ll be a while—30, 60, maybe 90days--to get it empty, so it’s not immediate. We eel like the donation o this property will be amazing, “ he stressed.“What about the plans or the waterway?” asked council member CharlieMcCarty.“We’ll leave the dock just the way it is,”replied O’Rourke.“We’re just concerned about thecongestion with river boards, et cetera,”said McCarty.Council member Paul Hume said,“Also, do you see that as competing withthe private hotels and rental houses?”“Tat’s air. It would be oolish to say there’s no conict,” conceded O’Rourke.“But what we are not ater are people who want to enjoy Folly. We want people toutilize our outdoor programs. You aren’t just coming to enjoy the beach—it’s aneco lodge o sorts.”“How many people?” asked CouncilMember Dale Stuckey.“Very small. A ew people,” repliedO’Rourke. “We won’t use it as a restaurant,but we could use the space as a classroomor reception hall.”“What about a Conerence center?”asked McCarty.“No. Tis is or the person doingoutdoor activities, like kayaking, saidO’Rourke.Te council members looked at eachother, not thoroughly convinced. Finally,council member DJ Rich spoke up.“You are taking a residence away roma signicant amount o people. You’rekicking out people who have lived here onthis island or orty years!” he exclaimed.“Tey have options. We’re not kickingthem out. Te owner would take actioneither way,” responded O’Rourke.“It’s another piece o Folly Beach gone.Tat’s going to be sad. Tey’ll be gonerom the island, those people,” musedCouncil member DJ Rich.“People think the county is trying totake over,” said Hume.Moments later, the discussion returnedto the park erosion.“I something happens and the park isn’t open or 2012, is the money or beachnourishment still coming through?” askedRich. “We have several pieces o property that need that money. A lot o people will eel like they aren’t getting airly compensated or something new on theisland.”O’Rourke began to look deeated.“Perhaps this idea isn’t good or Folly Beach ater all,” he said. “I this council isagainst it, it won’t happen.”“We need more inormation,” saidMcCarty as O’Rourke stepped down romthe podium.“Basically, we have good people on therenourishment committee,” said MayorGoodwin. “We have a good lobbyist in Washington, and their agency is workingor us at no cost. Tey are going to send aletter to our Senators that says how this isa ederal problem.”Te council brainstormed on how uture erosion problems might be solved.“We need to look at another systemdown the road,” said Hume. “Te contract will run out in about 30 years. Some o the best engineers are the Dutch. Tey’reunder water. “McCarty laughed. “What’sexperimental in the US is proven in theNetherlands!”“Anyway, everyone who knows anelected ofcial needs to get in touch withthem,” said Mayor Goodwin.“We need to show what it means tothem,” said Hume. “We need to show Folly’s revenue in relation to the state”“I gave it to them or one year already and that impressed them,” said MayorGoodwin.Later, the council members reocusedtheir attention on the election board issue.“Tey sent us something that tells usnothing,” complained Hume. “I thoughtthey’d make it clearer like they said they would. I want to know the advantage o these olks doing this. I don’t see thoseadvantages listed here. I don’t see whatthe city o Folly Beach gets. Te otherthing is, as I look at this inormation, thecommission that we currently have isn’teven legal. Let’s be honest.”Mayor Goodwin replied, “I we wantto keep things the way they are, we haveto have an election, but we’re not going tohave one beore Jan 21.”“Do we have people to do it?” askedHume. “Did any o the people resign?”“Yes,” said Mayor Goodwin.“ Is there an advantage or going to thecounty?” asked Hume.“It might save $600. Tat’s what Iheard,” replied Stuckey.Te council members deliberated ora ew moments on what the most costeective option would be. No one couldsay or certain i money would be savedthrough letting the County take care o elections.Mayor Goodwin nally said, “I it’ssomething like a ve dollar discrepancy,then that is not much.”“What could the county handle orus?” asked Hume.Stuckey said, “Tey could handle itcompletely, or let the election commissiondo part o it still.”Hume said, “We still have to pay orpublishing, printing, all expenses incurredby the county. What would we really besaving anyway?”Mayor Goodwin said, “With thecounty, we might get people rom West Ashley, North Charleston, JamesIsland…” Ater a ew more minutes o discussion,the council members seemed to agree thatkeeping things the way they are is best,and any cost dierences are too small tomention.“I don’t see any reason to change it tothe county. Right now the only thing wecan do, i we aren’t going to the county, which I assumed rom the beginning, is just to continue how we are,” said MayorGoodwin.
Renourishing the Beach,Reconsidering Election Commission
COUNCIL WORK SESSION, JANUARY 10, 2012
BY DENISE K. JAMES