Irmo Taxpayers Could Choke on Okra Strut Costs

March 22, 2012

Inside Insight

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Lake Murray, Rotary Club mascot

The Midlands town of Irmo announced this week that it’s found a home for the 41-year-old Okra Strut festival.

Beginning next year, the Okra Strut will be held on a 14-acre tract on Eastview Drive, a site the Irmo Town Council agreed Tuesday to buy and develop as a park.

Complaints about noise and traffic forced the festival to move regularly over the past decade.

The town paid $230,000 for the land and the project has a preliminary cost estimate of $1.1 million, according to The State newspaper.

The location will be used as the town’s second park when it isn’t being used for the fall festival.

Mayor Hardy King said he was concerned that the cost of developing the site and its upkeep will be burdensome for the community of 11,000 residents.

But Irmo Town Councilman Barry A. Walker Sr. says it’s all good and development of the project won’t be as financially challenging as suggested.

Walker “envisions a partnership between Town Hall and local civic groups that will help pay for (the festival’s) features,” according to The State.

That’s “envisions,” as in “we don’t have anything concrete yet, but we’re hopeful someone will agree to help us defray the cost.”

Until then, though, Irmo taxpayers can expect to be on the hook.