January 2012

January 2012: Mayor - Hilton Head Island and Bluffton

Author: Drew Laughlin and Lisa Sulka | Photographer: Photography by Anne

Planning for Hilton Head Island’s Future

Thanks to the efforts of a hard working town council, we produced a focused and energetic strategic plan for 2012 and beyond at our recent Strategic Planning Workshop. We threw out the playbook and adopted a different approach to how the workshop was conducted and, as a result, we have a plan that is action-oriented, will enrich the lives of residents and visitors, and is accomplishable with your support.

We didn’t throw out the usual workshop playbook, because it wasn’t working. Rather, council wanted to narrow its goals to items that reflected the greatest and most imminent need. Last year, you may recall, council recognized the need to preserve the Heritage golf tournament and made this its number one goal. Typically, we adopt goals without a specific prioritization other than “top, high and moderate” categories. Thanks to tournament officials, state, town, local and federal officials and interested persons, the tournament was successfully preserved for the benefit of businesses, island recognition, college students, and local non-profits. Similarly, and in recognition of the need to spur the local economy for the long-term, council devoted significant time to redevelopment in the Coligny Circle area and at the Mall at Shelter Cove. Here are the results of our workshop:

-Reinvigorate the local economy

-Enrich lives of residents and guests

-Revitalize the built environment

-Preserve pre-eminence for environmental stewardship

-Enhance town government service

Top Priority
-Economic development: assessment and organization

-Coligny area redevelopment: economic analysis, town’s role, and approve a plan

-Shelter Cove area redevelopment: determine town’s role and develop and approve a plan

-Chaplin Linear Park: develop detailed plans and funding

High Priority
-LMO re-write: Complete draft amendments and seek review and approval

-Recreation Center expansion: phase I

-South Island Marina dredging: permitting and determine town’s long-term role

-Aquatic center: direction, location, and funding

Moderate Priority
-Promotion and marketing to businesses and investors: develop program and marketing materials

-Commercial recycling: evaluation and direction

-RBC Heritage golf tournament: identify town’s funding source and assist tournament with securing long-term commitment

-Town local business retention and growth program: evaluation and direction

-Town marketing and public information plan: evaluation, application (best practices) to town, and direction

-Airport master plan: implementation

-Island Recreation Memorandum of Understanding: draft renewal and seek review and approval

-Fire and Rescue master plan: revise current plan and adopt revisions

-Beaufort County Sheriff’s contract for police services: review for renewal and approve

-Cell phone E-911 errors: reduction

As you can see, our agenda is aggressive and has many moving parts that will require important and substantive decisions by council. We’ll need your active participation, so don’t be shy. Thanks for your continued support.

BLUFFTON – Lisa Sulka
Bullying In Schools

Over the past months, a lot of attention has been given to bullying in schools. Our governor launched an anti-bullying campaign with television and Internet advertising featuring some of our South Carolina celebrities. On a local level, our superintendent of education, Dr. Valerie Truesdale, spoke about this at a recent League of Women Voters luncheon. It was interesting to hear Dr. Truesdale’s comments regarding a meeting of high school student leaders. She asked several questions of these students about bullying amongst their peers. Their responses to her were quite interesting. They told her that “our” generation was “tripping on meanness.”

What an interesting choice of words. A group of people who are supposed to be this generation’s role models are some of the same people who are blogging, voxing and showing a lack of respect towards others. And our students are seeing this behavior every time they turn on the television or go online to read any newspaper.

Go online to any publication and, after you read an article highlighting something positive that is happening in our area, you will see anonymous blog posts, many making negative and disrespectful comments about the article. Turn on the television and watch any one of the news or political shows and you will see the lack of respect between each other, not allowing one person to finish a sentence before another person interrupts or talks over them. These are just a couple of the many examples of bad behavior in the media that are influencing our youth.

Dr. Truesdale’s charge to us was to begin fighting this with positive actions. I left there very motivated to help in this effort, and I am asking my readers to share this with others. I think it is high time that we start teaching our young people how to behave in the public eye by becoming the role models that they deserve to have. If you see a negative vox in the paper, take a couple of minutes out of your day and reply with a positive message. If you read your news online, take time to set up a blog—log in (be brave and use your real name), and call out these naysayers on their negative messages. Let’s begin 2012 with an optimistic message about respect and responsibility for our next generation and make a difference in a positive way.

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