Voters say no to $5.5 million makeover for IOP Marina, but some renovations expected

ISLE OF PALMS, SC (WCSC) - The City of Isle of Palms will not be borrowing $5.5 million to enhance and revitalize the IOP Marina.

That's because 69 percent of voters voted against the referendum on Tuesday.

However, city officials say it will likely be up to the incoming council and new mayor to decide what funds from the budget will be allocated for some renovations.

Officials say some funds were set aside in the case that the referendum didn't pass.

It's not clear when or how much money will go towards improvements.

"Everything is limbo right now but there are things that need to be done," said Marty Bettelli who is the Chairman of the Public Safety Committee and a current city councilman who supported the referendum.

In the plan, enhancements included things like more pedestrian access, a kayak launch and public dock accessible for people with disabilities, an improved parking area, boat and trailer storage spaces, fuel docks and more.

The dock master for the Isle of Palms Marina says the condition of the docks and the electrical and fuel systems are a major concern.

He says if something isn't done soon there won't be docks for people in the future. He also thought there was more resident support for the referendum.

"There's probably and excess of $2 million of work that really needs to be done," Bettelli said.

Current council was split on support for the referendum particularly when it came to the price tag and use.

Councilwoman Sandy Ferencz says it likely didn't pass because of the emphasis of the plans for commercial use rather than residential use.

Ferencz did not support the referendum because of the amount of money allocated to the renovations that would have to be borrowed.

One thing most agree on, including Ferencz, is that some renovations are necessary at a lesser cost.

The future council and mayor with input from the planning commission, residents and city staff will be looking at options and determine what renovations are done and how much to spend.

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