Folly Beach councilmembers postpone vote on Folly Boat relocation

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FOLLY BEACH, SC (WCSC) –

Folly Beach councilmembers have decided to postpone a vote until March on a resolution to move the Folly Boat.

Councilmembers say they want to gather more information before making a vote to return the boat close to its former location.

Resolution 04-18 states the city would apply for an encroachment permit with the South Carolina Department of Transportation in order to move the boat from its current location.

According to “The Folly Boat” Facebook page, they want to move the boat back to Folly Road down the road from where it used to be before Hurricane Irma.

Ideally, they want it located on the right side of the road heading toward the ocean just before the Folly Creek Bridge. It would be located on the James Island side of the bridge.

Folks with “The Folly Boat” organization said the plan and efforts are to use no public funds.

They want to raise the money from private funds.

They have not begun raising money yet because they are in the midst of creating a nonprofit to raise the money.

“That always helps,” councilmember and Folly Beach resident D.J. Rich says. “There’s always a couple of people who don’t like an idea. So any time you don’t have to use city funds for it, you’re a lot better off. It’s just a lot safer, it’s all raised by private citizens – then you really can’t argue that the city spent money on a wasteful purpose. The boat is such a cultural icon that a majority of people want it back.”

The money raised would go toward the relocation of the boat and to build a cradle inside which the boat will sit.

There is no word on how much that will cost.

But Folly Beach Mayor Tim Goodwin has some reservations about the resolution itself.

“This is going to put the city as the owner of this boat and all of the problems that come with it,” Goodwin said.

Some of those problems include things like maintenance and clean up.

SCDOT has given the city special conditions if they were to receive the encroachment permit. You can find that list here on page 40.

Goodwin added this is not a time sensitive matter and until more questions are answered, he felt there should be more of a discussion rather than a vote.

“People ask why we don’t put it back right where it was and that’s because it was sitting in the marsh,” Goodwin said. “It was put there by a storm. It wasn’t moved. Ocean and Coastal Resource Management is not going to give you a permit to put a structure in the marsh.”

While some have reservations about the resolution, nearly everyone agrees the boat should eventually be brought back to where the community can enjoy it.

The boat was moved from Folly Road to a private dock by Hurricane Irma in September 2017.

The dock owner expressed interest in moving it back to its original location.

Folly Beach residents also banded together to try and raise money in order to move it back.

The boat has been painted and repainted with messages and designs meant to accomplish everything from sending well wishes to loved ones to making political and social statements.

It originally washed ashore during Hurricane Hugo and has become an icon of the city.

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