I am heartened by the civic cognizance that the conflict about the Beaufort Downtown Marina parking lot project reveals.
It demonstrates that our city has innovators who sought to create a new vision for the parking lot, and caring citizens who opposed that vision in order to maintain what they felt would create a significant loss to our community.
One viewpoint that hasn't received enough recognition, however, is the value of the parking lot as, well, a parking lot, especially if we recognize the subliminal value it has for tourists and residents. The ability to find a parking place is an important factor in our daily lives.
The marina parking lot is a vital and reassuring resource that is attractively integrated into our downtown. The limited height of cars actually protects our view of the bay in front of it. I am pleased to park there when offering my guests to Beaufort a stroll down the Waterfront Park promenade, and gratified that it is close by when I have had a night on the town.
We already have a park nearby and many "protected" views along the bluff and around The Point neighborhood. We have numerous boat landings and the magnificent views from our bridges.
What we don't have is enough parking. We could renovate the existing lot to make it more attractive and efficient at a fraction of the cost of converting it to a park.
Cars are an undeniable part of our culture, no matter how walkable the city becomes.