Georgetown City Council discusses harbor dredge for more boat access
GEORGETOWN, SC (WCSC) – Georgetown City Council is considering a few ways to ensure its harbor, the centerpiece of downtown, remains deep enough for boat and barge use.
At a special meeting last week, council heard a presentation on sediments and dredging and discussed how best to move forward.
The presentation suggests that an initial dredging, or remodeling, of the inner harbor is necessary to maintain current depth and vessel usage. The presentation advises council to invest $4.45 million to also dredge the east and west ports.
Additionally, the board considered undertaking a long-term project to close the Goat Island Shortcut to reduce sediment and maintain harbor depth in the future.
Along the harbor is the Liberty Steel Mill. James Sanderson, president of United Steel Workers Local 7890, says a deep harbor could be great not only for tourism, but also for industry.
“We want to make sure that the steelworks wharf, the channel that goes past the steelworks, is treated because it is something that we think is very important for the workers here in our plant, as well as for many other industries here in Georgetown. who would like the ability to use the port,” says Sanderson.
Sanderson says 68 employees work in Georgetown at the plant and access to the port would increase available jobs.
“We think if we’re able to use this port, we’ll probably be back to where we were before the plant closed,” Sanderson said. “Probably 220 to 230 employees.”
He acknowledges that tourism is a big part of the port, with private and public boats using it to access the historic city center. Sanderson says the industry also wants to be an important part of the port.
“This port just isn’t something for Georgetown,” Sanderson says. “The entire state would benefit from dredging the harbor, and we just need to step up and do everything we can to market the harbor to try and bring more business here to Georgetown.”
He hopes to see the city, county, ports, businesses and industries come together to make the project a reality and benefit everyone.
The presentation suggests that the council will inspect the inner loop of the harbor this summer and continue sediment sampling this fall. The timeline places the actual dredging project in 2024 or 2025.
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