Last month, Patriot’s Point in Mt. Pleasant revealed a master plan that would transform the military, cash-strapped museum into a mixed-use development for the town. The plan would build 2,000 private homes, a “higher priced” hotel, and a “town center” on the 367 public acres at the point. Mt. Pleasant Mayor Billy Swails says he likes the plan, but-
It’s just too massive with the number of single-family homes. Until they can do something to convince us that the 2,000 single-family homes are not going to generate too much traffic, I’m not going to support that. Saying that, I was so impressed by the master plan.
The plan would create a more “neighborhood” atmosphere. Because of the traffic that would add to the area, Swails says there needs to be more of a balance. As mayor, Swails is on the Patriot’s Point Board, but says he’s only one of nine votes.
I really thought in my mind the best place is they should come, visit and leave. Now, I understand we are financially strapped, and we’ve got to save that warship, absolutely it has to be saved. So, we need some cash, what we need to do is find a balance.
The USS Laffey was taken off the Patriot’s Point harbor to make repairs through a state-funded grant, but Swails says he wants to see the warship brought back to the museum. He also says funds are needed to maintain the most popular warship at the point, the USS Yorktown. Here’s what Swails likes about the plan:
Should generate between 15 to 20 million dollars annually once it plays out. That is enough to maintain the warship. The warship needs to stay where it is in the water, maybe we need a cofferdam around it, that’s looking at 10 to 15 million dollars to do that.
Swails says the plan will have to be approved by the Patriot’s Point Board, then it will head to the Mt. Pleasant Town Council, which he is also a part of. Swails is satisfied with the plan, but wants to come to a compromise on the “housing” portion of the plan before he votes to approve it.
If approved, Swails says the first phase of the plan would start by 2015.