The city of Brunswick and Glynn County must stop trusting their futures to raw fate. They must do what other coastal communities began doing eons ago and do a better job at planning ahead. Real planning. And they must make sure the people doing it are fully qualified.

One prime example of failing to plan ahead occurred in this century when the county began removing small trees and shrubs from the east shoulder of U.S. 17 North. The explanation offered at the time was that the elimination of vegetation would afford passing motorists a pleasing panoramic view of the marsh along a 50 mph stretch of highway.

What the county did in reality was ignore smart science. Roots anchor soil, protect ground from erosion caused by advancing seas propelled by abnormal tides and storms. Trees also serve as windbreaks. Any motorists traveling Hwy. 17 in the vicinity of the missing trees felt the strong broadsides caused by bullying gusts during the most recent tropical storm.

Then there’s the beaches, the one major asset that can be claimed by the Golden Isles. The community has grown an economy on their drawing power. There’s also the protection they afford against landward attack of Atlantic storms.

Is it the desire of the community to continue to just stand by and watch more and more of its sandy shoreline disappear under the waves? Other communities to the north and south of the Isles, including Tybee Island, have addressed this issue and continue to address it today. They do because they know what the beach means to their economies, jobs and safety. Sure, the issue gets a mention every few years here, but that’s all it ever gets.

Then there’s the city. In the heart of Brunswick there’s Mary Ross Waterfront Park. How many more years is the city going to allow this asset to just lie fallow? It’s a gem that has been overstudied and overlooked for decades.

How grand it would be to no longer be the only city in Georgia to fail to capitalize on its waterfront and finally be able to make a prime riverfront tract of land work for the community’s taxpayers and businesses.

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