Dear Mr. Byrne,
I write on behalf of numerous constituents who have contacted me about the power-line rebuilding project in the Hampton Park, Wagener Terrace and Westside communities. Many have expressed a serious concern about the unfettered disregard for Hampton Park and the intrusion of several commercial-grade utility poles that recently replaced wooden poles in a prominent area of the park.
As you may know, Hampton Park is the largest park and green space located in peninsular Charleston. The history and significance of the park is well-documented and dates back to the Colonial Era. In this regard, there are monuments and other landmarks of significant importance to the historical archives of South Carolina. In recent years, the City of Charleston Parks Conservancy has undertaken a project to make Hampton Park the most extensive floral display of any park in the city. Also, the Charleston Horticultural Society made an audio walking tour of the park called “Layers of the Landscape,” which has been widely distributed to park enthusiasts. The park is home to many activities year round including, but not limited to, the United States’ premier international performing arts festival, Spoleto, and the African-American and Caribbean arts festival, Moja.
I have been informed by the legislative director of SCANA, Mr. Henry Barton, that prior to performing the work, SCE&G provided the city of Charleston with its plans and worked with the city on some of the specific requirements under the franchise agreement. I also understand that legally SCE&G has the right, power, and authority to erect, install, maintain, and operate in the streets, alleys, and public places of the city. While the actions of SCE&G may be legally defensible, I would expect that a public utility would consider it vital to engage the public on a project of such significance in a neighborhood park.
As State Senator for District 42 and a resident of the affected community, I am deeply concerned about the lack of information the community has received about this project. Moreover, I am informed that the city had very little input into the process. For example, the only input the city was allowed was on the choice of color of paint. The galvanized color was chosen because it was low maintenance and, after the first coat, the city was informed that it would be financially responsible for its upkeep.
I am duty-bound to inquire into these matters on behalf of the constituents who have expressed a concern in this very important matter. I too share that concern. I would very much appreciate you giving me a call to discuss this matter as soon as you can. Thank you so very much.
As always, I remain,
Marlon E. Kimpson
Senatorial District 42
Cc: Mayor Joseph P. Riley, Jr.
James Lewis, Jr., City Councilman District 3
William Dudley Gregorie, City Councilman District 6
Bob Olson, President, Hampton Park Terrace Neighborhood Association
Charles Shine, President, Wagener Terrace Neighborhood Association
Arthur Lawrence, President, Westside Neighborhood Association
Chairman Nikki Hall, District 6, Public Service Commission of South Carolina
C. Dukes Scott, Executive Director, SC Office of Regulatory Staff
Danny F. Kassis, District Manager Metro Charleston, Scana Corporation