Summerville Journal Scene ® Published Thursday, October 21, 2010
Although I am proud to call Summerville my current home, I grew up in Atlanta. It was a great place to be as a youngster, with woods and creeks providing access to open space and places to play with my friends and family and to enjoy the outdoors. Anyone who has been to Atlanta in the last 20 years, though, can testify to the fact that it has changed dramatically for the worse. Much of the city is filled with strip malls, parking lots, and generic housing developments, and traffic is infamous. Such changes did not come all at once, but bit by bit, which, when I was young, we’d thought was okay since growth was good.
Like Atlanta, Dorchester County is growing fast, but we are still in a position to shape that growth in a way that makes sense for us all. Growth is good, but balance is even better. That’s why I’d like all of my neighbors and friends in Dorchester County to join me in supporting the open space bond referendum that is going to appear on the ballot on November 2nd . It will provide a $5 million dollar general obligation bond to protect water quality and secure open and green spaces in Dorchester County. If we pass this referendum and if approved by county council, the bond will cost the average household in the county less than $7 dollars in taxes a year, less than the price of going to a movie.
There are those who say that in this economy we can’t afford to raise taxes even by that amount, but land prices are at historic lows right now. If we wait even 5 years, our money won’t go as far, and we’ll have to spend more money to protect the same amount of land. To those who think that land protection seems frivolous when our schools are facing cutbacks and have grave needs, I would point out that there are myriad reasons for why Dorchester County has become such an attractive place to live. Strong schools, a thriving business community, and reasonable housing prices are some of the many reasons that people want to come and live here. Our beautiful forests, wetlands, waterways, and open space constitute another. All of these things come together to create a place where people want to live, so we can’t promote one at the expense of another. Study after study has shown that proximity to green space and parks actually drives up real estate values, and now more than ever, people are seeking these things in their community. Just a walk along the Saw Mill Branch trail and seeing so many people of all ages enjoying it provides a telling example.
Let’s keep balance in mind on November 2nd, and I hope you’ll join me in voting “yes” on this referendum next month. For more information on this issue, please visit www.dorchesteropenspace.org
Dorchester Greenbelt: http://www.postandcourier.com/news/2010/oct/30/vote-for-dorchester-greenbelt/