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Sandy Island: Residents try again for ferry service

Sandy Island residents are making another attempt to secure funding for a boat.

Residents of the island in the Waccamaw River will meet this month to become acquainted with a proposal for funding a boat through a federal Rural Development loan.

The drowning of three people in 2009 spurred interest in getting a ferry for island residents. Coast RTA received approval to obtain an unused car ferry from Alabama but decided it would cost too much to upgrade the infrastructure on both the island and the mainland to accommodate a vehicle ferry. The plan was scrapped and replaced with an idea to seek a small passenger boat in the future.

“We never stopped trying,” said Charles Pyatt, an island resident. “It looked like the county and the RTA were moving slow, and we decided to do something for ourselves.”

Pyatt said the proposal would include a pontoon boat with an estimated cost of $34,000 to carry people from the mainland to the island.

“It would let us control our own destiny,” Pyatt said, “while we still seek a ferry for cars.”

Jessie Risher of Rural Development said the public meeting – Dec. 16 at 2:30 p.m. in the community center – is the first step in a long process to secure funding.

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