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Other options, other priorities

Posted: December 8, 2011 8:19 a.m.
Updated: December 9, 2011 5:00 a.m.

Just my opinion…

Once upon a time in the land of South Carolina there was the beautiful town of Camden. Camden was known for her style and grace as well as her history and great appeal to the equestrian community. She opened her arms to visitors from many locations, and for years the town progressed without incident until one day greed and politics entered into the picture.

Recently I had the opportunity to attend a City Council meeting, having been to a number of county council meetings I thought I had an idea about how these things worked. Wow, was I wrong! As the meeting proceeded through the usual agenda, and on to the public forum, the speakers presented both sides of the issue, which gave insight to the sports complex debate. I saw the pros and cons of both sides and could understand all of the issues.

Camden has a population of approximately 7,000, and the city council plans to spend $6.5 million to build a sports complex to “promote tourism.” In my opinion the construction of such a building for that amount of money is ludicrous.

As a “tourist” I make a trip a least once a day to town, and as I do so I pass both on Dekalb and Broad streets, empty, abandoned and burnt out structures. I personally find this image both offensive and an embarrassment. This has become a society built on depreciation. In other words, build something and once it has outlived its usefulness, just abandon it. What a waste.

In light of today’s economy the need for recycling seems far more relevant. I would suggest City Council consider spending money to rehab existing buildings such as the Bi-Lo strip mall on Dekalb Street which already has sewer, water, parking and many other amenities already in place. With much less money that building could easily be transformed into a comparable sports facility, that is a far more visible and accessible location.

The city of Camden as well as Kershaw County was built on history and the equestrian industry. Let’s embrace that which is already established and make it better. One way to do that is by reusing, renovating and repurposing Camden’s many empty storefronts and buildings. Shops, restaurants and hotel rooms promote tourism, not a YMCA. How about a committee to attract business? As a taxpaying citizen of Kershaw County and as a contributor to the hospitality tax, as a “tourist” I consider the expenditure on such an extravagant undertaking a total waste!

We should listen to our citizens and take to heart what they are willing to support-not what a few see as a windfall to personal gain. The best part of being an American is having the ability to have a voice in the process. Well, citizens where do you stand? Are you willing to let your city be destroyed by greed and politics?

Just my observation…

It was apparent that the council was proceeding with this matter without a public referendum. Mr. Polk was the only council member to raise questions and have a legitimate argument.

In this era of recycling and “going green,” we should consider making a silk purse out of a sow’s ear and question whether we want a building that looks like it belongs at the University of Virginia not the town of Camden.

Also, why not give the many talented South Carolina architects a chance at the design?



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