Letters to the Editor

Letter: Hilton Head should suspend arts venue project

For months I’ve been reading about a $65 million arts venue with an outdoor amphitheater and indoor concert hall (or some variation thereof) to be built by taxpayers on Hilton Head Island. I’ve also been reading letters to the editor expressing strong opposition for multiple reasons.

I attended an early morning “Arts and Coffee” gathering to get some answers to my many questions. Three women representing the town’s Venue Committee spoke without microphones in a packed coffee shop where customers’ orders were being filled and cappuccino machines whirred.

They informed the attendees that they are only at stage one and they have no idea where or what, if anything, they are looking to build. They further maintained that no money had been spent and that the issue had not yet attained referendum status. After some interaction with the audience, it became clear that the committee had been allocated a budget of $200,000; they had every intention of spending it; and that, the issue will indeed appear on the Nov. 8 ballot as part of the county’s sales tax referendum.

The tension in the room was extremely divisive. Frankly, I sensed we were being railroaded.

The bottom line is “the bottom line.” If such a major project were economically feasible, a private entrepreneur would have done this years ago.

I urge the mayor and Town Council to suspend this project and halt any further expenditure of tax dollars. There are many more compelling, legitimate issues that need to be addressed, such as public safety.

Mary Lou Bolger

Hilton Head Island