By Pamela Brownstein
In 2006, I received a letter from SCE&G wanting to buy the utility easement in front of my house. As a new, twenty something homeowner, the dollar amount was large, I didn’t need to be asked twice. I planned to use it on a trip to Hawaii, but my parents wisely opened a savings account and reserved that money for house projects only (of which there were many).
About five years went by and I figured I was in the clear: maybe they forgot about that telephone pole project?
Not so fast.
It’s hard to describe how monstrously large the new poles are. When you stand at the bottom and look up, it’s like staring at a rusty lighthouse. (I noticed the pole near the jail on Ribaut is nice and shiny, but the one in front of my house was already rust-color when they installed it. Hmm…)
Fine, there’s a giant pole on the corner. I knew this day would come. At least they will replace the old poles and wires. Many, many months have gone by and this has not happened. I was told the phone and cable companies still use the old poles and have no incentive to move to the new ones. Inquiries to SCE&G and the city have passed the blame onto one another. Now there’s an old rotted wooden pole, a gigantic rusted pole, a big new pole for a street lamp that floods our house with fluorescent light, and two sets of wires crossing the view from my front porch. The property value of my house is sure to go up.
If you haven’t seen these poles or think I am just ranting, let me assure you I am not alone in my concerns. A group of citizens, primarily from the WeRi (West of Ribaut) part of town, is taking action and meeting with leaders of the community and representatives from SCE&G looking for answers. If you would like to get involved, contact firstname.lastname@example.org for details.
With the development of the Rails to Trails bike paths and North Street as a main corridor, it would behoove everyone to improve the look of these poles. Some ideas I like include having local artists paint them or putting living fences around and planting vines to grow up the fences to mask the garishly large base of the pole.
So yeah, I took the money. But I also paid the price.
By Pamela Brownstein