By Paul Gable
Conway voters will go to the polls Tuesday to elect three members to city council.
Two incumbents, Larry White and Tom Anderson, are on the ballot with the third seat currently vacant guaranteeing at least one new council member.
Five challengers, Alex Hyman, Justin Jordan, Liz Gilland, Barb Eisenhardt and Randy Alford are seeking election.
Flooding will be on the minds of many voters thanks to the major storm events of recent years and memories going back to 1999 and Hurricane Floyd. What to do about new development in order to limit its effects on current homeowners is part of that discussion.
Two candidates stand out on the dual issues of flooding and development. Incumbent Larry White told local media recently he would seek better infrastructure for the city as well as working with developers about where and how much to build and limiting the effects of runoff from new developments onto existing properties.
Candidate Alex Hyman said smart development helps everyone. As a member of Conway’s Zoning Board of Appeals and Planning Commission over the last eight years, Hyman has first-hand experience on issues of development around the city. He understands development is going to continue but it must be planned to complement what is already in place around the city.
Hyman has exhibited considerable knowledge and thought about the watershed in which Conway is located and some of the challenges and possible solutions to how flooding of recent years can be better managed.
Two things are certain, development is not going to be stopped, as candidate Barb Eisenhardt appears to be advocating, and riding on the backs of the Horry County Stormwater Department (Gilland), the Army Corps of Engineers and/or the South Carolina Department of Transportation (Anderson and Alford) to find flooding solutions are not the answer. Jordan advocates finding another way across the Waccamaw River as a solution to the traffic congestion experienced in last year’s flooding.
On a separate issue, Hyman advocates a two tier approach to improving the business opportunities in the city. He said the city should go to existing businesses with the question ‘what can council do to help you.’ For new businesses looking to relocate, Hyman would ask ‘what will you add to our business community.’
And, as a lifelong resident of Conway with deep roots in the city, Hyman speaks often about quality of life for residents and how that can be maintained and improved in the future.
In these last 48 hours before election, it is important for voters to consider all of the candidates and decide which ones bring the best solutions to issues facing the community. Hyman and White stand out to me as two who should be elected.
Regardless of your choices, get out and vote. Voters can’t have a voice in their own future and the future of the city if they don’t exercise that democratic right.