2012-05-17 / Letters to the Editor

Let all residents decide on fate of Fort Getty

I just can’t wrap my head around why the Town Council would spend $1 million to increase the voltage to 50 amps for the Fort Getty RV campers so they can have air conditioners and other high-voltage equipment, as well as improved water lines to their sites for unrestricted use.

Many people, like Council President Mike Schnack, think reconfi guring and reducing the park is a good idea, and that seems fair, but this would cost between $3 million and $5 million.

Seriously? And this RV park is called Jamestown’s “cash cow?” I can’t see how that math works out. I can’t see how this is camping. In this horrible economy that has changed our lives so much, I don’t get why spending all this town money of ours this way makes any sense. If we have that sort of money – and we, as taxpayers, are the town – why can’t we spend it on our park so all islanders and visitors can enjoy it? Why was the idea of a Fort Getty committee proposed and instantly abandoned by the Town Council? Was that simply a stalling tactic so the Town Council could make its decision June 18 when the “campers” return? I hope not. Deciding the future of our only town park should not be turned into a class issue with the rich elite on one side, and the working man on the other. It’s not a matter of taste or class or who has been here the longest.

An RV can cost between $30,000 and $300,000. You can buy a motorboat for those prices. What if the town had decided in the 1970s to have a public yacht club at our park instead of camping? What if, for the past few decades, there was a long waiting list to become a member, and membership largely consisted of non- Jamestown families who lived in their boats for the summer season? Would that feel fair or exclusive?

I don’t know what the best answer is. A private town park like so many other towns? A sailing school? More expensive fees? Camping in another town property? Stickers, no stickers? Open land for picnicking, swimming, walking and biking?

I urge Jamestowners to stand up and tell the Town Council not just to rubber-stamp this gigantic expense, but to have the guts to reconsider Fort Getty’s use and truly represent the voters by letting all interested residents weigh in with proposals. As much as the council members may feel they have not accomplished enough of their goals in their term, I do not think they would want to be known as the council who made this major decision for our community without more of a fair, intelligent and in-depth look at what is possible and what is a mistake.

You don’t get a lot of chances for a do-over in life. With something so important to our community, why not take one here while we can.

Elizabeth Congdon-Pinto
Pierce Avenue
Jamestown

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