SANDY ISLAND, SC (WCSC) - Time may have run out on the Sandy Island Ferry Project (SIFP). Members of the island community have been raising money to cover the $40,000 transportation cost for a 90-foot ferry boat from Etowah County, AL to their dock on the Waccamaw River.
Last Saturday, the group said they raised roughly half the cost for the vessel at Parkersville Park in Pawleys Island after a month of collecting.
But their efforts may be in vain since the group reached its June 1 deadline.
"If I were to gauge their needs on a scale of 1 to 10, I would say 10," says former District 108 representative Vida Miller.
The group is lead by 87-year-old Bill Murray, a native of Sandy Island. For as long as the CFO of the SIFP can remember the only way on or off the Island is by personal boat. But even Murray says its time for a change due to ever present safety issues.
"Sandy Island natives have suffered many tragedies crossing the river from sandy island to the mainland," says Murray after describing the most recent accident resulting in three deaths in 2009.
"Enough is enough," says the groups Chief Executive Officer Charles Pyatt. "We need better means of transportation and that's the bottom line."
Pyatt joined Murray and the rest of the island community to secure the rights to the ferry boat from Alabama after officials there could no longer pay for the vessel's upkeep.
Since Georgetown County didn't have the funds to pay for the vessels transportation cost, the Sandy Island community decided to raise the money on their own.
"It's coming in." says Pyatt. "But it's coming in slow."
Unless the community is given more time, their dreams of a ferry to transport them to and from their island may be lost.
Murray says if the community cannot raise the $40,000 by the deadline, he will reimburse all those that donated money for the cause.