This is in response to Francis L. Giknis’ letter to the editor in the Oct. 18 Times paper regarding Tony Shiver’s comments. First off, it is not about making a profit, but how the profit is made and the consequences involving the profit.
There is not anything wrong with making a profit. But when the profit is made without regard to the consequences of compromising the landscape and the ecosystem while disregarding the will of the majority, then you have a problem. Let’s take Panama City Beach as an example. Remember when there were amusement parks, mom-and-pop establishments, and everything was not a rat race? Look at it now, the big developers come in and now all you have are high-rise condos up and down the beach. They thought they could build these condos and make a huge profit, but it didn’t work because of the economy. I remember when you could ride along the road and actually see the beach; now you have to go to a special parking lot and walk down just to see the beach. We do not want that here in Franklin County, do we? This is what Tony Shiver is fighting against.
Tony Shiver is here to preserve our history and protect our future. He is not adverse to progress, but his type of progress would benefit this community in a way that our history is not destroyed. Franklin County is a place that people come to enjoy the peace, beautiful scenery, our wonderful seafood, quaint shops and wonderful restaurants. We do not need people to come to our county and tell us how to run our lives when they themselves are only here part-time and do not ever plan on living here permanently. Mr. Shiver’s referral to improvements were for additional services and businesses that would benefit the community as a whole, not just a few.
As to the comment about Mr. Shiver’s family making a profit. If you had researched the area’s past, you would have found that Mr. and Mrs. Armistead helped put the very first auction for the St. George Island Volunteer Fire Department in place. They were and are still big supporters of the “chili cook-off” which benefits the St. George Island Volunteer Fire Department as well as the SGI First Responders. They also were very active in bringing the First Baptist Church to the island as well.
All the businesses run by the Armistead family provide a valuable service to the island as well as the community. Unlike condos that only benefit its owners, and a handful of paid employees. These same developments would push the current working class out of the area, eliminating not only the natural resources through dense population growth and contributed pollution, but a way of life for thousands.