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Letters: Yemassee preserves depot; why can't Camden?

Posted: August 31, 2010 3:13 p.m.
Updated: September 1, 2010 5:00 p.m.

Now I’m really puzzled! In the Aug. 26 edition of The State newspaper, it was reported that “Yemassee closes deal on rail depot.” The article goes on to state that “The town council in the town of 860 people this week closed a deal to buy the closed depot from CSX Transportation.  Residents hope to renovate the depot that holds memories for thousands of Marines. While the depot is closed, Yemassee is still a working station and the only Amtrak stop between Charleston and Savannah.

I would like to be enlightened as to how a small town of 860 people  can succeed in closing a deal for their railroad depot when Camden, with approximately 7,000 residents cannot afford  to pursue the idea of renovating our train station because of “the liability concerns with the building in its current state.” (Remember, the building was being donated to the city by CSX.) It appears that there is no difference in the ownership  of Yemassee’s depot and the Camden depot; CSX owns both buildings. Both towns provide stops for Amtrak -- Yemassee is acquiring its building from CSX and it still provides services for Amtrak passengers, so it has obviously agreed to a lease agreement with Amtrak. Remember that our City Council nixed our deal over the lease agreement with Amtrak.  It makes one wonder if our city officials took any time to study the lease agreement or even if they took the time to enter into any discussions about the agreement with Amtrak officials. If Yemassee can work out a lease agreement, why can’t we?

Let’s review:  Our City Council has a “Town Green” project due to commence in October; they have hired an Urban Forester, an Assistant City Manager,  and a Downtown Planner; they are, in addition, proposing an IT position and possibly a part-time grant writer. We appear to be spending a lot of money but  we cannot afford to work toward preserving something that is not only historical but provides a service for the community and could become an important asset to our future. There is something here that doesn’t make sense!

Kay Polk, Camden

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