Get Cruise Terminal Location Site Right
Tourism in Charleston has an economic impact in the billions of dollars. And as the city has been named the country’s No. 1 travel destination, that growth is likely only to speed up.
But tens of thousands of visitors make for challenges for local residents, businesses and government services.
That’s why dozens of citizens, business owners, tourism industry representatives and city officials worked for almost a year to recommend changes to Charleston’s Tourism Management Plan.
That’s also why City Council should approve their impressive work at its meeting Tuesday, including a recommendation to consider another site for cruise ships. A public hearing at 5 p.m. Tuesday, before the council meeting, offers another chance for residents to have their say.
Other recommendations range from improved signage to more regulation of special events to remote parking to a second visitors center farther up the peninsula.
Participants in the process worked hard to balance the benefits of tourism with residents’ quality of life and businesses’ need to operate successfully.
The recommendations should certainly stand up to City Council’s scrutiny. And that includes the cruise ship recommendations.
The most controversial ideas are that a study be done to determine the best site for the State Ports Authority’s new cruise terminal and that shore power be provided.
The SPA says it has done such a site study and the current plan to put it at Union Pier is the best one.
Unfortunately, the public has yet to see that study. And many believe it makes more sense to relocate the cruise ships to the Columbus Street Terminal farther north.
The SPA and Mayor Joe Riley contend there is not enough room to do that.