By Mark A. Leon
I had the esteemed privilege of being part of a very insightful discussion about the new proposed cruise port in Mount Pleasant with some people very close to the design of this major Mount Pleasant initiative. After lengthy discussion, it became clear that there are several merits supporting this move. It also came to my attention, that not all the relevant information has been understood by some that oppose or don’t fully understand the move.
Here are some bullet points you should know about this initiative that will show the value it will add to the Mount Pleasant, SC community.
- The ships will only be docking initially about once a week. There will be no adding of new passengers and unlike the Carnival Cruise ships we are accustomed to seeing, these vessels will only house about 200 plus passengers.
- These will be high end cruise ships with affluent customers. These customers will be a higher potential spending stream into the Mount Pleasant economy.
- Passengers will utilize private buses to participate in day trips to places such as Boones Hall Plantation and the USS Yorktown. This will not have an adverse effect on traffic adding more vehicles to the road ways.
- Security for passengers on land will be maintained by off duty Mount Pleasant officers who will be receiving overtime and helping bring further financial support into our local law enforcement.
- The ships will dock between Fort Sumter and Sullivan’s Island and take a water taxi to land. Unless you are on the Arthur J. Ravenel Jr. Bridge or parts of the harbor, you will not notice the ship and given its size, it will blend into the aesthetics of the harbor.
- These ships will be charged tourism tax in which part of that tax will go back into the Mount Pleasant budget to support road infrastructure improvements and more.
- The ships will dock in the morning and depart by late afternoon. The impact on the water ways of the harbor will be minimal and will not affect daily harbor activity.
Overall, this proposal brings in pure tourism revenue to the sites, attractions, retail and dining for Mount Pleasant, limited effect on traffic, additional funding for improvements in the city and extra opportunities for local law enforcement to gain revenue.
In additional, the Coast Guard and Homeland Security have provided their thumbs up and support for the proposal. This is strong collective effort that has a promising impact one of the fastest growing cities in the United States and will also bring awareness to some of the magnificent offerings Mount Pleasant possesses.