My fellow Mount Pleasantans, did you know that our town is poised to pay a developer almost $3 million to build a parking garage on Shem Creek?
I didn't think so.
Did you know that there is a tall structure of approximately four stories planned to be dropped right next to the Shem Creek bridge?
I didn't know this either until just a few days ago.
I learned at an April 30 meeting at Moultrie Middle School from fellow citizens and from Councilman Gary Santos that in October of 2013, Town Council approved spending $185,000 each year on this project for 15 years.
The math on that totals 2,775,000 tax dollars; and remember, your taxes were just increased. This money goes to the developer of the project with no guarantee that any of it will come back to the town.
What's worse, Shem Creek will suffer a large structure, right there in that lot on Mill Street and Coleman Boulevard.
The most photographed place in town, the view of creek and water and expanses of land and sky, won't be the same once you plunk a big building next to it.
Imagine a parking garage next to the Golden Gate Bridge or right next to the Washington Monument.
Density and smart growth are good and fine. But are some views, some places, important enough to protect from brick-to-brick building? Isn't Shem Creek that place in Mount Pleasant?
No one is saying that parcel can't be developed; the owner has invested and has a right to develop it.
But we are talking about a structure that's the size of a four-story hotel - taller than the Quality Inn at the base of the Ravenel Bridge, taller than the Boulevard on Coleman. Height restrictions exist for good reason, and certainly for a Shem Creek location, they exist for good reason.
It's possible, if we don't pay attention, that one day that four-story parking garage will just go up, just appear, and it will be done.
Then, we'll all be up in arms: "Why didn't someone tell me this was happening?"
And we will regret letting it be built. The fact is, it has not happened yet, and the opportunity to stop it still exists.
The next town council meeting will be May 13 at 6 p.m. in council chambers, 100 Ann Edwards Lane.
Council members have the opportunity to reconsider allowing this structure and giving away nearly three million of our tax dollars, all while just having increased our taxes.
So, let's have standing room only at the May 13 council meeting, if you can make it. If you can't, it is as easy as sending a quick email to all council members at CouncilClk@tompsc.com.
Keep the $3 million and keep the creek.