That the “salvage yard (is) here to stay” – the Aiken Standard on June 13 – is, in a word, unacceptable. Is this community really saying “oh well” or “whatever” to an unsightly blemish that introduces many visitors to Aiken and their first impression of our former All-American city? Has the “fig leaf” approach of the past been successful?

But there may be an even more significant reason to find its continued existence unacceptable. Is it unreasonable to suspicion that the “temporary” accumulation over 30 years of leaking oil, gasoline, solvents, battery acids and more has created a true public nuisance and a significant environmental insult?

Is it unreasonable to suggest our government leaders step forward and direct county and state health officials to conduct the necessary inquiries to determine the extent of the nuisance and its impacts? Would it be shockingly audacious to reexamine the court order of 28 years ago to see if circumstances have changed?

If, as the recent economic benchmark study suggests, Aiken is in need of refreshing its vision and commitment for the future, then surely that new vision must include removal of the salvage yard blemish. Failure to do so will help to ensure that in the future it is Aiken, its businesses and citizens, not the salvage yard owners, that will continue to experience the “bad rap.”

John N. Lindsay