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Dec 25 2014

Letter To The Editor: Don’t Pave Our Paradise

Dear Editor,

I do not understand how 387 people can decide the fate of an island that is not their own. Over 1,000 supporters on Facebook. Hundreds and hundreds of paper petitions and hundreds of online petition signatures. We have talked to so many people that are appalled at what Kiawah is doing. Rampant destruction of fertile farmland, loss of local jobs, disrespect for a way of life that has existed long before Kiawah came along. “They paved paradise and put up a parking lot,” Joni Mitchell, “Big Yellow Taxi.”

This classic song may have well been written for the town of Kiawah and the fate of the Rosebank Farm produce stand. What will be gone is not just a vegetable stand by the side of the road. The stand represents a way of life that is vanishing all too quickly.

It represents responsible stewardship of the land, an example that we could leave for future generations to follow. It is a farm that provides real jobs and real food for the people of the Lowcountry, grown by the people of the Lowcountry. It is waking up in the dark, long days, demanding work, sweat, disappointments and the hard-earned fruits of one’s labor.

We need to understand the real value of our agricultural land and what it will provide—fresh, healthy produce. It wasn’t that long ago that Daniel Island was almost all farmland, and look at it now. Is that Johns Island in five years?

If we eliminate all of the treasures that make this the most wonderful place to live, who will want to come? As you take the beautiful drive to Rosebank, the changes along the way can be seen. The development seems fast-paced and without the infrastructure to support it.

Rosebank owner Sidi Limehouse has been a voice of reason, conservation, preservation and common sense. He has not been shy about his opposition to developing the fragile area on Kiawah Island, known as Capt. Sam’s Spit. It seems mean-spirited to rush the closing of a business to suit the political wishes of a town government.

Very few people are aware of the generosity of Sidi Limehouse. There are more healthy people today because of him. His philanthropy extends beyond writing checks to organizations.

His kindness extends to the forgotten members of our society—those living in poverty, the hungry and the underserved in our community. Sidi has always responded to the needs of the less fortunate.

The produce he donates to these groups has kept them alive, healthy and out of the public support system. To cut off this priceless source of healthy food in order to build a municipal complex for Kiawah on Johns Island seems unnecessary. Is there not another place available? It is another example of overdevelopment at a huge cost to all of us.

It will cost us a way of life that is a part of our culture and the history of our islands— farming the land and generosity of the spirit. We will look at that building complex, shake our heads and remember a sweet past—fresh fruits and vegetables, beautiful wildflowers and the simple pleasures once provided. We know you can’t stop progress, or what some people think is progress, but it will be a sad day for all of us when that big white tent comes down.

Yes, Kiawah let Rosebank stay on the property till Dec.31, even though they had a lease that extend until April 2015. How kind of them to try and protect their reputations after the public outcry regarding closing the stand before Christmas. We don’t understand the actions of the town council of Kiawah Island but I do know that they are highly resented in the rest of the surrounding areas. We are writing to let the people on Kiawah Island know how the rest of us feel. Kiawah cares…. About Kiawah.

Thank you for your consideration,

Jill Levy,

Charleston

Jacki Baer,

Mount Pleasant

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