Nicolas C. Lempesis of Folly Beach has won The Post and Courier’s Golden Pen award for March for his letter to the editor “Seek alternatives for Folly park.’
Mr. Lempesis wrote that while he is “a supporter of the Charleston County Parks and Recreation Commission and all the work it has done,” he opposes its attempt to obtain $15 million for renourishment of the county part on Folly Beach.
He recalled noticing major geological changes in that area starting in June 2009 and pointed out that the site “is very unstable and changes with each tide,” adding, “It is what it is. Mother Nature.”
And: “From that month on, high tides continued to devour the beach in that area.
“First went the dunes, then the walkway from the parking area to the beach and then the parking lot itself. Hurricane Irene came by last year and took the rest and left what we see today.
“Before the CCPRC developed this site as a county park, there was no issue about sand, and that is what we are talking about here. Sand — $15 million worth.”
He warned that “if we keep dumping sand at the park, we might eventually be able to cross over to Kiawah at low tide, or we may eventually have to discuss dredging the inlet where the Folly River meets the Atlantic.”
Thus “why spend $15 million for a temporary fix?”
He recommended “other choices,” including “a concrete sea wall at that site,” or asking the Army Corps of Engineers “to re-open the parts of the jetties they closed in the ’40s.”
He concluded: “The beach is still there. What has been lost is artificial access to the beach that the park allowed.
“We taxpayers need to cut our losses and, as the Beatles song says, ‘Let It Be.’ ”
Golden Pen winners are invited to an annual luncheon with the editorial staff.