Port Royal grassroots campaign to help expedite sale of port - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Port Royal grassroots campaign to help expedite sale of port

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PORT ROYAL, SC (WTOC) -

After three failed attempts to sell the Port of Port Royal, the town is looking into the possibility of buying it from the State Ports Authority.

Part of that decision comes after a group of citizens launched a grassroots campaign known as SIN.

The group's message is simple: sell it now. And their campaign seems to be making an impact.

Judy Alling moved here about four years ago with the intent of living close to the port's waterfront.

But the State Ports Authority has failed to sell the 317 acres since 2006.

Instead, neighbors see a rusty fence, barbed wires and empty buildings.

"We have to live with this in our backgrounds and front yards and it's very discouraging," she said.

Rather than stay discouraged, she and a few others formed a group to fight for the town.

"We call our group SIN, standing for sell it now," she said. 

The group collected more than 200 petition signatures in less than a month and sent countless email blasts to the Ports Authority and local legislators.

Their actions seemed to make a difference as town leaders met with the Ports Authority last week.

"Oh absolutely, I think they were very instrumental in having some additional attention paid to this sale by the Ports Authority," said Town Manager Van Willis.

He said the sale will require unconventional financing, and the town is open to selling the property in parcels rather than as one piece.

"The asking price on the property is $22.5 million. I think we have the capability of having it developed the way we'd like to see it developed," said Willis.

Until she sees money exchange hands, Alling said the group will continue to push for a sale.

The town said the next step will be to get an up to date appraisal on the property and as for SIN, they're continuing to collect signatures for their petition and will be making T-shirts for their campaign soon.

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