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Writer has questions for city, county councils

Posted: November 30, 2017 1:58 p.m.
Updated: December 1, 2017 1:00 a.m.

Kershaw County has announced plans to purchase 35 acres of riverfront property on the Lugoff side of the Wateree River (north of the bridge) for more than $11,000 per acre.

How many jobs will those dollars create? And since 1957, has the property tax received in 60 years on those 35 acres totaled $400,000? That property floods in wet seasons. The word “recreation” was mentioned. Recreation for who and how many? How many out-of-town tourists are going to use that access? The water is too polluted to swim in and there is already a boat ramp on the south side of the bridge. If you must take ownership, declare it public domain and pay only the value listed on the existing property tax records. 

Kershaw County children need ball fields and ball courts. Kershaw County businesses needs tourist trade, increased sales volume and lower taxes and utility costs, as do Kershaw County homeowners. Kershaw County needs additional tax revenue, but will not get it on the river bank. Finally, our tax dollars do not grow on trees.  

The city has purchased and -- according to recent articles -- is looking at more property adjacent to the proposed site of a privately owned farmer’s market whose property was not large enough for building, vendors and customers. Thus, it appears the city is buying property to be used as parking for a private business, which by the way, has no visibility from Broad Street, thus tourists and visitors won’t even know it’s there. With all due respect, how will we, the tax payers, benefit from what is being attempted as acts of crony capitalism by government?

Let’s review a piece of Kershaw County history, In 1952, Kershaw County purchased the 2,200-acre Adams Mill Pond Plantation for the purpose of developing a parks and recreation facility for the citizens of Kershaw County (according to words on the monument out front). They paid $44,600 or $20 per acre, for the property. Three years later, Kershaw County Park opened and was an instant success. 

How do I know?  My dad, Percy Mays,  and I were part of it. In the 1960s, Kershaw County Council, in its infinite wisdom, transferred some 700 acres -- including the lake and watershed -- to the state for a state park. Now the state wants to give it back. Why not? Why not retake ownership, including the improvements the state made, but at no cost to Kershaw County, and finish what our predecessors started by building camp sites, RV camper sites, with a fee charge, hiking trails, ball fields, re-open the concession stand and convert the old bath house building into  Kershaw County Naturalist Museum,  school , adult ed school or art classes and make Kershaw County Park once again a tourist-vacation-destination, just like every other RV Park and camper site in the state, with access available to everyone. Good fishing in the lake. Lots of wildlife and wilderness and peace and quiet. 

The land already belongs to us. Properly managed, the property could become self-sustaining and create several job opportunities. The land across the wire road could be developed with huge benefits. Boy Scout troops could set up permanent camp sites and assist in keeping the area cleaned of downed limbs etc. Gardening projects could be a possibility. 

Land and leadership make good bedfellows. We encourage the reader and councils to consider the possibilities of what they’re doing vs. what we could be doing that benefits thousands of Kershaw County citizens and visitors at very low costs. 

Thank you for your patience and thank you, councils, for your service.

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