2015 News for Pawleys Island, Litchfield and Murrells Inlet
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Sandy Island: Grants sought for ferry service

By Charles Swenson
Coastal Observer

Georgetown County is seeking up to $130,000 in mass transit grants to help provide ferry service to Sandy Island. The county has explored a variety of options for the service since 2009, when three island residents drowned while crossing the Waccamaw River at night in a storm.

In February, newly-elected state Superintendent of Education Molly Spearman met with county and school district officials to discuss replacing the current boat that transports students to and from the island. The 50-year-old, steel-hulled Prince Washington can’t accommodate students with disabilities.

State law allows elderly and disabled adults to ride the school boat, and Spearman said she favors buying a new, handicapped accessible boat. “I think we’re much further along than we have ever been,” Georgetown County Schools Superintendent Randy Dozier said. “It’s the first time in years that we’ve seen progress and some solution in sight.”

County Council this week approved the grant applications to the state Department of Transportation. One is for providing service to senior citizens. The other is for creating access for job opportunities, County Administrator Sel Hemingway said. They would allow the county to partner with the school district to provide service.

Both grants would require a local match, Hemingway said.

If approved, he said the grants would cover operating costs. The county would have to reapply each year. “There’s no assurance beyond one year,” Hemingway said. That’s true of all mass transit funding, he said.

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