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Shifting Tide

Todd Davenport, CFP®, ChFC®, AAMS® Financial Advisor MKT-9811A-A

210 S Cedar St Suite 1 Summerville, SC 29483 843-851-1840

www.edwardjones.com Member SIPC

potential so clearly: the land could be the site of a multicultural community center, where people of all backgrounds could come together to enjoy water, swimming, fishing, and communing together as one. She imagined the older, established generations sharing their water-based culture with new transplants, bringing together young and old. She also envisioned having nature programming for people of all ages, and a circular economy commerce space, to support locals while encouraging the sharing of resources. She spoke to the landowner, and came to an agreement regarding purchasing his land. First, she promised not to gentrify him, offering him the option to live the rest of his life in the home he built on the property. Second, she promised that the property would only be used to provide public access to water and to host a multicultural community and event center. With a contract in place, Willis went all-in with trying to secure funding for the land, partnering with sponsors, getting a veritable army of supporters behind her, setting up an Indiegogo campaign, and leaving no stone unturned when it came to setting up meetings with anyone who may be able to make the dream a reality. Over and over again, she got within reach of full financial support from local organizations and members of the community, but then, inevitably, something would fall through, and they would back out at the last minute. Though Willis was paying for a contract on the land while she worked to secure it for the long term, after 16 months, the money ran out. In June of this year, their application for a loan was denied, and potential corporate sponsors opted to support other initiatives instead. “We aren’t backing down,” says Willis. “The landowner is still on board, but we need to make this happen as soon as possible. So I’m still working on it, diligently. Right now, we are approaching nonprofits and asking them to be our fiduciaries. We need people who take in a lot of money to get this off the ground, and then we can sustain it from there. But that said, I don’t have to own this project. If someone wants to offer public access to water on Johns Island, and they’re interested in doing it on their own or forming a partnership or whatever, I’m happy with that. If the land I think is perfect for this doesn’t work out, I truly believe the right thing will. The bottom line is that somehow, someway, there needs to be public access to water out here. Period.”

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AZALEAMAG.COM Winter 2018

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Azalea Magazine Winter 2018