With much concern I have followed the debate on proposed redevelopment of the waterfront parking lot in Beaufort, my hometown. My family has lived in the Beaufort District since Colonial times. Beautiful Beaufort has maintained a unique sense of place that has kept my immediate family coming back for more than 50 years. I hope this quality of life can be preserved.
I would urge responsible citizens to defend their town's future against one-sided siren songs that promise jobs and economic development. These sorts of land grabs serve short-term interests of only a few.
The question is, do the citizens of Beaufort want rapid development to benefit only a few pocketbooks, or sustainable growth that will preserve a sense of place and quality of life for the future of all? Once the sense of place is gone, it is gone forever, along with heritage tourism and all the other attributes that make the city of Beaufort unlike any other.
We have encountered similar development pressures in the small town outside Atlanta where I now live. I have worked to educate citizens to the value of what they have in trust. I have served on a city historic preservation commission, written articles, and organized groups to speak at City Council meetings.
Nearly every state now has a study measuring the impact of economic preservation (www.achp.gov/ economic-statewide.html). Experts like Donovan Rypkema and Caroline Cheong have quantified the economic benefit for communities that have wisely balanced preservation and development.
Anne Stanley Webb