The 2021 PGA Championship is scheduled for Kiawah Island, and history is repeating itself. Another advocacy group/lobby is being formed to convince Johns Island residents they need new roads — especially a “greenway” through the middle of the island to allow guests access to the affluent resorts of Kiawah and Seabrook islands without traveling through a “Third World country.”
The Town of Kiawah Island, the Kiawah Island Community Association, the Kiawah Golf Resort and Kiawah Partners plan to invest $200,000 to create the organization and pay former Speaker of the House Bobby Harrell to be its spokesperson. (Harrell resigned as speaker and pleaded guilty to misusing campaign funds.)
Prior to the 2012 PGA Championship, the governing groups paid former Charleston City Councilman Maurice Washington $100,000 to convince African American residents of Johns Island to support a road through properties that had been held by generations of families. Fortunately, Johns Islanders are not so easily fooled. It didn’t work then, and logic suggests it won’t work now.
Wadmalaw Island residents are happy with their conservation easements and don’t want to see Johns Island paved over. However, it is expected that the Town of Seabrook Island, the Seabrook Island Property Owners Association and the Seabrook Island Club will each contribute something to the lobbying effort.
Let’s not forget that the roads across Johns Island to Kiawah were not the problem during the 2012 tournament. The problems occurred in the muddy parking areas and long shuttle bus rides provided by Kiawah and event sponsors.
Kiawah and Seabrook should spend their funds to resolve their problems instead of trying to deceive the Johns Island community.
Glenda L. Miller