Marines consider closing Parris Island; state representatives worried about financial impact

Marines consider closing Parris Island; state representatives worried about financial impact
Parris Island (Source: WTOC)

BEAUFORT COUNTY, S.C. (WTOC) - The training home for all Marine recruits on the East Coast could be changing.

Questions are being raised about the future of the Marine Corps Recruit Depot on Parris Island.

Marines have been coming to Parris Island for over a century. And in that time, it has become a staple of the Beaufort County economy. But now, that could be changing.

The Marine Corps announced it is looking at closing Parris Island and a base in San Diego to open a new training station where both male and female recruits could train.

“Parris Island is unique. I think he would also lose a distinct training situation,” S.C. Rep. Shannon Erickson said.

Rep. Erickson believes, if anything, Parris island should be renovated and become the new hub.

“It seems to me, if you are going to relocate anywhere, this is your hub. This is your place that’s having things happen in the right way,” Rep. Erickson said. The Marine Corps says building a new location would be cheaper than renovating the two existing structures. But losing Parris Island would have a deeper impact on the community. “So, to pull something like that that has that deep of roots, would be devastating morally and emotionally but also it’s around $700 million of economic impact.”

The president of the Beaufort Chamber says Parris Island directly provides 6,000 jobs. Even more, if you count all the businesses frequented by Marines.

“They are the customers for local businesses across Beaufort, Port Royal, and the sea islands in the Lowcountry. It’s a big part of our regional economy and the fabric of our identity.”

Rep. Erickson says she and the other local state representatives will be meeting with the governor on Thursday to discuss ways Parris Island can be preserved.

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