Wanna truly save Shem Creek? Here's what you do.

Shem Happens

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I don't know about you, but when I'm looking for a new TV, I shop around. I look at the flyers in the paper. I check out Amazon. I swing by Target. I want to make sure that I'm getting the best deal in my price range.

This isn't something I do on any sort of regular basis. Nope. I just do it whenever the time comes to buy a new TV, whether the damn thing just Cam Newtoned and Clemsoned the bed or I happened to reenact my favorite scene from John Carpenter's 1979 biopic Elvis — psst ... it's the one where the King of Rock 'n' Roll shoots the TV. Of course, it's worth noting that in my case I'm more likely to silence the television with something closer at hand, like say a My Little Pony Cutie Mark Magic Pinkie Pie figurine that I just sat on or a bourbon-filled tumbler, which isn't really a tumbler at all, but a plastic Doc McStuffin's cup I bought from Walmart for a buck and which gives every sip the taste of slave labor and inescapable industrial smog.

The point is, I'm not going to waste any time looking at the prices of TVs unless I damn well plan on buying one. 

Which brings us to the curious events that have seemingly shaken Mt. Pleasant to the core, namely that several town council members want town staff to find out the value of several properties along Shem Creek, some of which are right on the water. The reason: They are interested in creating a new park along the creek and these properties are ... well, the pro-pricers just aren't clear on that part. And so, last Friday Mt. Pleasant Town Council voted in favor of an ordinance to find out how much it would cost to buy these properties.

Now, the owners of these properties aren't interested in selling, and they're pretty pissed about the whole thing. In fact, things nearly got ugly between several properties owners and Town Council members Joe Bustos, Jim Owens, and Will Haynie, who, for reasons that perhaps only a hog-tied sub would understand, decided to hold a presser in the parking lot adjacent to two of the targeted properties, Red's Ice House and Tavern and Table. Fortunately, no one was injured, with a riding crop or otherwise, although according to reports at least one council member remained gagged.

What's particularly infuriating here is the fact that Bustos and the gang are collectively insisting that last Friday's vote had nothing to the do with the prospect of seizing any of these “currently operating businesses” — their words, not mine — by eminent domain to build a creekside park. But any sensible person knows that like with TVs, you don't go pricing properties unless you plan to buy them, either by striking a deal with the owner or by exercising the legal power of eminent domain. We can all agree on this, right?

Then again, perhaps Bustos, Owens, Haynie, and the combined Facebook forces of the Save Shem Creek crowd are onto something. Shem Creek certainly needs saving, anyone can see that. It's a lovely Lowcountry treasure and it must be protected. Heck, even the area called the Old Village needs saving for that matter — what with its luscious live oaks and marsh-side views. But the thing is, if the Save Shem Creeker truly wants to return the area back to its natural roots, some silly park with a shrimp boat fountain spurting out butter and cocktail sauce simply doesn't go far enough.

In order to truly save Shem Creek, Mt. Pleasant Town Council will have to buy the whole damn thing and bulldoze any building that detracts from the beauty of this majestic piece of coastland — Red's, RB's, Vickery's, the Shem Creek Inn, Tavern and Table, and all the houses in the immediate, and not so immediate area — and, yes, that means a huge chunk of the Old Village.

If the Save Shem Creek crowd is truly interested into turning the creek into some sort of nature preserve that all the citizens of Mt. Pleasant can enjoy, then that's the only way to go. Otherwise, they're only interested in creating a park for the well-to-do homeowners that live nearby. 




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