Georgetown City Council discussing a harbor dredge for more boat access

Sanderson says.
Sanderson says.(Live 5)
Published: Jul. 1, 2022 at 4:26 PM EDT|Updated: Jul. 1, 2022 at 7:36 PM EDT
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GEORGETOWN, S.C. (WCSC) - Georgetown City Council is considering a few ways to make sure its harbor, the centerpiece of downtown, remains deep enough for boat and barge use.

At a special meeting last week, the council heard a presentation about sediment and dredging and discussed the best way to move forward.

The presentation suggests that an initial dredging, or reshaping, of the inner harbor, is required to maintain the current depth and boat use. The presentation advises that the council invest $4.45 million to dredge the east and west harbor as well.

In addition, the council looked at potentially taking on a long-term project closing the Goat Island shortcut to reduce sediment and maintain harbor depth in the future.

Along the harbor sits the Liberty Steel Mill. James Sanderson, President of the Local United Steel Workers 7890, says a deep port could be great not only for tourism but for the industry.

“We want to make sure that steel mill dock, the channel that goes in front of the steel mill is addressed because that is something that we feel like it’s very important to the workers here at our mill, as well as other industries here in Georgetown that would love to have the opportunity to use the port,” Sanderson says.

Sanderson says 68 employees work in Georgetown at the mill, and access to the port would increase available jobs.

“We do believe that eventually if we are able to utilize that port, we will probably get back to where we were at before the mill shut down,” Sanderson says. “Probably 220 to 230 employees.”

He recognizes that tourism is a big part of the harbor, with private and public boats using it to access historic downtown. Sanderson says the industry wants to be a major part of the harbor too.

“That port is just not something for Georgetown,” Sanderson says. “The entire state would benefit by the port being dredged, and we just need to step up and do everything we can to market the port to try to attract more businesses here in Georgetown.”

He hopes to see the city, county, ports, businesses and industries all come together to make the project happen and benefit everyone.

The presentation suggests that the council will survey the inner harbor loop this summer and continue sediment sampling this fall. The schedule puts the actual dredging project in 2024 or 2025.

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