2012-08-02 / Letters to the Editor

Fort Getty should be affordable for nonelite

Elitism is alive and spreading like a virus on Conanicut Island. Seaside family camping has become an endangered species and would no doubt be eliminated if the elite 1 percenters – with more than half of the nation’s wealth – would have their way. Fort Getty is one of the very last places on the coast where the average guy can afford to come and enjoy camping with his family.

In the July 28 issue of the Press, Mr. Thompson proposed the “easy” solution: kick out half the campers and keep the remaining 50 percent only if they are wealthy enough to afford $10,000 (Letters, “Easy solution is to cut RV sites, increase rent”).

I’ve been to RV parks in just about every state in the past 30 years and can tell you that even those RVers with black-hole deep pockets and half-a-mil rigs wouldn’t pay $10,000 a season. Not even if the town pours leveled concrete pads and driveways, adds 50-amp service and individual water supply for all. Not even with elaborate landscaping, a pool, spa and clubhouse, as well as other five-star amenities, like a putting course and driving range.

And you know what? At Fort Getty, even if the town coffers could cough up the bucks to provide a vast passel of frou-frou enticement, the campground cannot provide on-site sewers for each unit because the campground is too close to the bay. That would never do for $10,000 a season. No sir.

Besides, family visitor influx has been outstanding at Fort Getty this season. It might rake in over $400,000, who knows? There is also the factor of families and guests of 100 campers buying their groceries at McQuade’s, and frequenting the bars and restaurants, gas stations, ice cream vendors and coffee houses. Someone told me a source at McQuade’s said that without the campers in the summer, the store would be in trouble financially – maybe not even make it. I believe it. I wish the business community would speak up for their loyal camper customers, and I can’t understand why they don’t – unless they think they might offend the elite.

Mr. Thompson says he knows what he’s talking about because he’s a professional real-estate appraiser. There are a lot of Jamestowners whose real-estate taxes are less than $10,000. Guess we should be kicked off the island and sent back where we came from.

The average family has been priced out of baseball games, and certainly out of vacations at seaside hotels. Let’s at least keep affordable family seasonal camping here by the water. The American workingman and his family are the salt of the earth and it’s the right thing to do. There’s plenty of room around them right now for sailing classes, day camps, weddings, boating, swimming, walking, biking, fishing and dog walking on the beach. That stuff goes on all the time. And all for a reasonable $15 beach sticker. There is nothing elite about that.

Jan Whitford Galley Street Jamestown

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