City of IOP hosts open house for $5.5 million marina enhancement project

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ISLE OF OF PALMS, SC (WCSC) –

A $5.5 million project could be in the works to enhance the Isle of Palms Marina.

This November, people who live on the island will be voting on whether or not the city should use a bond to fund it.

City officials hosted an open house on Wednesday to provide an opportunity for the community to tour the current Marina and learn about future plans.

IOP Mayor Dick Cronin says the city has spent at least the past two years planning for Marina improvements.

“It’s in dire need of major overhauls,” Cronin said.

He says the city has owned the Marina for the past 20 years and has made “very little improvements.”

Dock Master Mike Pickett says the project is necessary.

“These docks are incredibly old and they are way past their expected lifetime,” Pickett said. “It’s actually a safety hazard to a lot of the public walking on these docks. They are so old they get a little crooked and a little bendy so it can be a lot of trip hazards out there.”

He says the docks have been around since Hurricane Hugo.

The enhancement project calls for redesigned docks, more pedestrian access, a kayak launch and public dock accessible for people with disabilities, designated parking spaces for cars and golf carts, boat and trailer storage spaces, fuel docks and more.

Resident Kurtis Kendle is looking forward to the improvements.

“I think they’ve justified the expense. I think there is some fine tuning that needs to be done, but overall I’m pretty satisfied,” Kendle said.

Some people who live on Isle of Palms are concerned if there will be a balance between the tourist aspect and resident desires.

“Much of the year commercial activity is the only activity, but during the peak summer season residents and other visitors like to use the Marina,” Cronin said.

Co-owner of Tidal Wave Sports, Michael Fiem, says the renovations are long overdue and he’s looking forward to the plans.

“I’m really excited for it to get started,” Fiem said.

However, he’s concerned about the plans to move his business from a fixed pier to a floating dock.

“A lot of people don’t obey no wake zones and those waves could potentially rock our dock and create a situation where someone could fall,” Fiem said.

If the referendum passes there will be no tax increases for the project.

City officials say the debt on the proposed bond will be paid from marina revenues and tourism funds.

There will be an informational community meeting on Oct. 12 at the Recreation Center located at 24th, 28th Avenue.

It will take place from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.

For more information on the project plans click here.

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