The presentation given by the Urban Land Institute regarding the future of Georgetown was thought-provoking and very well done. It was obvious they had looked at more than just the steel mill and requested input from more than 800 residents to boot. Their suggestions have given Georgetown a clear path to a bright future. All aspects of their presentation were looking forward to the next 50 - 100 years, not to the past. By so doing, they have presented a challenge to our civic leaders to step up to the plate.
The proposals presented offer a wide range of possibilities with a nod to our history, and diversity as well. Focusing on a single element like the steel mill is narrow-minded and lacks vision. Up to now, we have practiced relying on a single industry to provide employment for many of our citizens and this has resulted in a vicious cycle of ups and downs. The proposal also looked at every sector of our population; there's something here for everyone, including an educational aspect.
The possibility of the mill operating again is very slim, and even if it were eminent, we would be foolish to put all of our eggs in that basket again. A much more diverse economy could result in the development of this diamond in the rough. Jobs for all citizens of Georgetown would be available within this proposal. Education and employment for all of the citizens of Georgetown could lead to future generations of people who not only live in Georgetown now but decide to stay and have their children and grandchildren stay as well.
We have a golden opportunity here. In my humble opinion, the opportunity we have to develop this large piece of property is far greater than the redevelopment of the Air Force base in Myrtle Beach. That redevelopment enhanced Myrtle Beach, but this redevelopment could actually give Georgetown wings to allow it to soar far beyond anything we could imagine.
The presentation was given on September 23rd and they challenged us to begin this journey on Monday, Sept. 26.
It's been almost a month and, yes, we had a hurricane, but hurricanes come and go.
Georgetown is here to stay - if our leaders have the courage to act.
The writer lives in Murrells Inlet.