Town Council sets roadmap for 2020

John McCann

This year, our Town Council will focus on exceptional quality of life, prosperity and innovation, and best-in-class services and facilities. These are lofty ideals, but they capture projects we want to accomplish in 2020.

We decided this at our workshop in Beaufort last December. Each year, a consultant leads us and key town staff members through thoughtful discussions that help us identify what our top priorities should be for the coming year.

Our recent workshop consultant, Julia Novak, approached our three-day gathering with an eye toward the new decade, our best attributes now, and what we hope they will be in 10 years, challenges our town faces, and possible solutions.

The best attributes about our island today are our environment, our history and heritage, our spirit of volunteerism, our residents and our fiscal strength as a town. We also know that we live on the best island in America, based on accolades we've received from Condé Nast Traveler, Southern Living and other third parties.

In 10 years, we hope to have a unified island with open space, workforce and housing opportunities, thriving heritage tourism, a vibrant economy, best-in-class facilities, and a central gathering place. We want a town that takes the lead in community building. Our three focus areas hold the strategies and outcomes that will be our roadmap as we tackle housing, road projects, land use and other challenges.

Through the year, we will continue our work on the U.S. 278 corridor project, preservation of Mitchelville and Gullah-Geechee culture, workforce development, housing and our comprehensive plan.

New to our lists of tasks this year are a proposed $65 million referendum to fund projects in recreation, arts and culture; master plans for specific areas of the island, a plan that markets our community as a great place to live, and best in class services and facilities.

Our Lowcountry Celebration Park, now under construction by the Coligny Beach Parking Lot, is an example of a best in class facility we are striving to have in our community.

Since our workshop, town staff has been working on specific details for our areas of focus. Once complete, they will present these to the full Town Council for review and approval. We'll keep you posted on our progress.

John McCann is the mayor of Hilton Head Island.

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