Guest Column: Georgetown Port Dredging: This might be our last chance
By Jamie Sanderson
I was born in this town. I went to public schools and was graduated by The University of South Carolina.
I decided to give back to my hometown. My talents, what I have learned and experienced in years of schooling ought to stay home. My town deserved better and I ought to be part of that.
I was set to move mountains. I wanted to stretch my arms out and enjoy the town I grew up in. We all deserve to feel that way, you know?
So it comes as no surprise to many who know me that the fights I take on are not for me only. They are for those who want to stay home and provide a better life for their families in a town they grew up in. The ones who wake up before the crack of dawn and go to sleep after sundown. Those who think the future can be better. Those who wish for their dreams to come true — locally.
I grew up the son of a steelworker. I hardly ever saw my father as a little child. Shift work is a downer. Ask those who work it. But as I grew older, I saw my father make moves upward. Not only did he move upward, he stayed local while doing it. And by staying local, he brought a lot more locals up with him.
Those same locals owe a lot to him for that. Myself included. For his sacrifices at home, he made sure others had futures in this town.
And that's important. Especially in today's world — when jobs are outsourced by the thousands. You know, we need to think about that.
Jobs in the decades before were hard to come by then. When you got one, you appreciated it. You knew your family was secure. You had an income. Some insurance. A little piece of the American Dream, you know?
Today, it's as if others feel it's nothing.
Georgetown was and is an industrial town. Look at your history. While it's true tourism has seen a slight uptick, those tourists come to see a past that included some of our industries. Harvesting rice was one of them.
There were and are saw mills. A paper mill. A steel mill. A drywall plant. A many amount of industry is in this town.
And that, my friends, is why we need to fight our hardest to get out port dredged. Our port, folks. The one we live with. The one that will provide jobs for locals. The one that will sustain jobs for locals. The one that could keep Georgetown striving for the best. The one that could keep generations home — to make our home even better.
Recently, the Sun News posted a blog entry stating there may be hope for our port. A bill is in the state house that would allow the borrowing of $18.5 million for the dredging of our port. The catch?
We must find $15 million in non-state funds.
Now, let me ask you something. How important is the future of Georgetown? Is it important enough to see multitudes of people succeed? Is it important enough to forgo egos, politics and rhetoric? Is it important enough to move past animosity amongst one another?
Look, it's not easy. Growth never is. But when we see other counties getting better deals (i.e., Michelin) than us, then it's time we fight for our own. It's time we fight for our future.
Tourism and manufacturing can live together just fine. We can and do benefit from each other. And having our port fully functional could be the best for both worlds.
Semi cruises? Moving pine? Tour boats? Steel shipments? All possibilities. So, why not dredge the port and explore the huge potential?
Whether you know it or not, we all have a hand in this. This port means more to the county as a whole than a few people. When we get past that, we'll see we can all enjoy the benefits.
I stayed home for many reasons. But the most important was the one about raising my family where I grew up.
Enjoying the children playing baseball games. Catching a play at the Strand Theater. Eating some local shrimp and fish at Poston's Seafood. Hanging out at Tony's Pizza.
These all mean the world to me. And the fact my job here locally provides that for me, it's humbly appreciated.
Want a better way to show more appreciation? Let's work to dredge our port and add more jobs for those who want to stay home and support local business.
This might be our last opportunity to get our port dredged and provide security for those in our town. Now is not the time to wait for others to save us. Now is the time to save ourselves.
I urge you all to contact your friends, neighbors and elected officials and tell them to fight for our port.
It's our town. Our people. Our future.
Jamie Sanderson lives in Georgetown and works at ArcelorMittal. He publishes a blog, The Politics Of Jamie Sanderson.
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