My dear Bluffton friends, please be wary of this talk about branding the town and its supposed ability to pull in more business, more citizens, more tourists, and, in my opinion, more crime, more traffic and more unattractive store fronts ad infinitum.
I moved here two years ago from a town in Colorado that started out as a small suburb of Denver. In my 40 years there, it turned into a town with well over 100,000 inhabitants. Needless to say, those marketing the city talked about the small-town feel, which they claimed was still in existence. Those selling the town could not put up with the acres of trees and wildflowers or the grazing cattle. They turned the land into what I called "shopettes," a row of small stores that usually went bust and remained empty or didn't start up at all. It didn't take much time for the mini-malls to look unsightly.
When I drive by the acres here of beautiful plant life, I am thrilled that it is untouched, especially for the creatures who live there. I love the old buildings in disrepair because they are part of the special history of Bluffton.
We are blessed here to have populations of birds that much of the country does not have thanks to our climate and nearby marshes, ocean and woods. I will always be fascinated by the alligators that have a right to live here. But when you destroy their habitat by replacing them with malls or homes, you essentially kill large numbers of them.
Just when I found my Bluffton state of mind, I am in fear of losing it.
Mary Ann Lueckel