Time to Rethink Restaurant

It’s time for Blythewood Town Council to burn the menu and wipe the table clean for the oft-discussed restaurant at Doko Meadows.

Instead of wasting time on this pipe dream Council has a much more immediate problem at hand – rectifying the botched landscaping project at the intersection of Interstate 77 and Blythewood Road. Council needs to devote the energy and the funds necessary to make this project bloom and flourish the way Jim Hudson, a businessman, did on a highway beautification effort for just one-fourth of the intersection at Killian Road, five miles away. This challenge will require a lot of effort, additional funds and a well-qualified contractor but, if done right, passersby will heap praise on our community. If done poorly, Council will get the blame for botching an idea purportedly advanced by John Perry, the town’s former administrator.

Some will ask about that $900,000 loan the town got with the aid of Santee-Cooper and Fairfield Electric to help finance the restaurant that would resemble the old Blythewood train depot. There also are a lot of people around who say the town should never have gotten that loan and that it has no business being involved in a deal to build a restaurant. Some will say the town will have to pay a penalty if they walk away from the loan. I say, pay the penalty and walk. The penalty is certainly not likely to be on the order of $900,000. Restaurants are not always a financial success and a failure in this case could be a serious problem for the town’s finances.

As a former member of the town’s Board of Architectural Review, I was an early supporter of Blythewood’s Master Plan but not to the full extent of what has been developed at Doko Meadows to date. I believe it’s time for Town Council to move on. It has budget concerns that trace back to Doko and it needs to continue efforts already made to corral expenses and put the town’s finances on a sound pay-as-you-go basis. More development at Doko can come when the time is right-and it can be afforded.

Ken Baldwin

Blythewood

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