Residents Outraged as City of Rock Hill Charges Irma Evacuees Seeking Refuge

The City of Rock Hill posted last night on their social media accounts that “In an effort to assist those affected by Hurricane Irma and traveling by RV,” they are making available the 43 RV sites at the Novant Health BMX Supercross Track at one point for $50.00 a night, but changed prices to $50.00 per week, citing a mistake in their original post about the price.

After an online backlash about charging those leaving areas such as Florida and Alabama in preparation for Irma, the price was changed to $50.00 per week. Normally, the sites are $50.00 per night.

At first, residents were accusing the city of price gouging as long as the price was $50.00 a night. With concerns about gas, flight, and water prices skyrocketing due to demand, the concern is legitimate and the act of price gouging is a real and serious offense.

However, hundreds of residents disagree with the city charging anything for those escaping and are voicing their opinions. “The fee needs to be waived,” and this charge is “embarrassing,” many said on the sites Facebook page. Others say they are ashamed of their city and will not be sharing the post as long as they are charging any amount.

Meanwhile, Charlotte Motor Speedway, as well as many other race tracks in places like Atlanta are welcoming Irma evacuees at no charge.

Currently, the Novant Health BMX Supercross Track is not being used for any major event and is presumably standing empty. The accommodations there are minimal with only power and water hookups. Coupling this with the expectation that Rock Hill will get a substantial amount of rain and wind, this hardly seems like luxury accommodations. Additionally, those leaving areas throughout the Southeast due to Hurricane Irma face a real possibility, almost a guarantee, that they will come home to nothing after the storm rips through their hometowns.

There is one argument, however, from people who agree with the charge: “hotels cost more,” and “this is a fair deal,” one Facebook user said. Is it really a fair deal? $7.00 a day may not sound like much, but when others are welcoming evacuees at no charge, this speaks volumes on behalf of the city’s values. Hotels offer things like hot meals, pools, air conditioning, and more in terms of amenities. While a discount would be the right thing to do for local hotels, primitive camping lots that are not otherwise being used and are owned by the city can spare a week’s time to those who otherwise have no place to go.

When a city, and not a corporation, has the ability to help those in need who are fleeing the inevitable devastation of Hurricane Irma, they choose to charge. Marvin Lee, a former Rock Hill resident says he had yet to see anyone charging Irma evacuees:

I live in Florida and have seen many offers to evacuees to escape Irma. Out of kindness and compassion, individual landowners to corporations owning major race facilities have offered refuge. This is the first offer I have seen with a fee attached. Pray for central and south Florida.