December 2015

A Note From Our Mayors

Author: David Bennett & Lisa Sulka | Photographer: M.Kat Photography

A Note from David Bennett
Exercising Community
It’s time for New Year’s resolutions. Since I celebrated my daughter Kate’s half marathon finish in Savannah last November, my dream (vision) has been to compete along side her in the 2016 New York City Marathon. In order to successfully do so, it will be essential for us to prepare, to plan and to train, that is, to exercise with precision and purpose.

Yes, before one embarks upon a dream of this substance, a certain course of action is vital. And this should sound familiar to you…Before initiating any diet and/or exercise routine, consult your physician or in other words, assess your condition. One must strategically communicate the goal to others in an effort to establish accountability, receive much needed encouragement, or, in the instance of my daughter, ensure that she shares the goal. Without her commitment and participation, the dream is forever just that…. a dream. Together, she and I will enumerate the “knowns” and identify the unknowns and variables in order to design a plan for realizing the dream. It will be paramount for us to regularly review and make note of our progress so that we may make adjustments necessary to accomplish our goal along the way.

Alternatively, I could surprise her as I hand her a race bib on a crowded New York street corner on Sunday, November 6, 2016…. Race Day! Now, recall the medieval French proverb, “Rome was not built in a day.” I smiled as I read a favorite finish to this aphorism penned by an unknown author, “…but it burned in one.”

My second resolution for 2016 is indeed to get all of our Islanders exercising. By this I mean the exercise of your rights as citizens. Some of you began this regimen with me a year ago. During 2015, you may have noticed the creation of several citizen-based committees dedicated to furthering the interests of our community by resolving issues and pursuing opportunities including the Circle-to-Circle Committee, the Arts and Cultural Strategic Planning Committee, and the Heritage Tourism Taskforce.

In 2016, with the support of Town Council, we need your talents to populate committees responsible for fostering future plans for the Visioning process, stimulating interest in the production of quality Affordable Housing and advancing efforts to explore possibilities for a Performing Arts Venue. This is strenuous exercise, but the goals are noble: to know and understand the dreams and visions of our Island community and to propel them to their potential.

In the book, Manners Matter, author Hermine Hartley states, “Community interests affect us all…. It’s important to apply the Golden Rule in our communities as well as our homes. Just as healthy bodies need exercise, a healthy community needs citizens who exercise their citizenship. It needs citizens who have eyes to see a need, ears to hear a call for help, feet to rush to help and hands to fill the need.” May we each resolve to be the eyes, ears, hands and feet of Hilton Head Island.
Happy New Year and see you at the finish line! 

A Note from Lisa Sulka
A Look back and a look ahead

It is hard to believe that we are starting 2016. This past year, the town experienced many successes, and we are ready to continue this in the New Year. A few of the many accomplishments are listed below:

Memorandum of Understanding. Documents were signed between the county and the town on the Calhoun Street Dock and Oyster Factory Park. Both agreements give the town more control over scheduling, maintenance, and taking the lead on determining scope and priority of improvements and with the county on funding. Both the dock and the oyster factory are important amenities to our town. and we are excited about the future of both.

Sewer Ordinance. Town Council passed an ordinance that requires the mandatory connection of new development or structures that have failing septic systems and are located within 300 feet of an existing sewer line.

Buckwalter Place Agreement with Southeastern Development Associates. Spearheaded by the Bluffton Public Development Corporation, the terms provide for public investment in shared infrastructure supporting town-owned property.

The following terms were agreed upon: the construction of a mixed-use development comprised of office space, multi-family housing units, retail and commercial space and the first Kroger Marketplace store in the Lowcountry; construction of and deed to the town an office building at least 3,000-square-feet in area for the Don Ryan Center for Innovation; the town and/or the Bluffton Public Development Corporation will have at least one board member on the Property Owners Association and Architectural Review Board.

Don Ryan Center for Innovation. The center continues its success with a waiting list of companies who want to be part of the center. The number of employees and payroll dollars added to our region continues to climb. We are now forging partnerships with SCAD, Beaufort County School District and Hilton Head Economic Development Corporation.

Bluffton Police Department Hispanic Hotline. Those speaking Spanish are now able to leave an anonymous message for officers to help fight crime. As we all know, law enforcement duties cannot be achieved by the police alone. Officers must work together with the public. One important tool proven to be beneficial in police departments across the country is the use of anonymous tip lines, allowing the public to relay valuable information without providing their identity.

Hargray Communications’ new Lowcountry Broadband plan initiative. This will bring Gigabit speeds to residential areas, enterprises, small businesses, and via Wi-Fi to common areas and participating resorts. The fiber optic-based technology will provide users Internet speeds 100 times faster than the national average.

You will be seeing more information on our upcoming Strategic Planning Retreat. I hope you will be involved and be part of this very important time, as this is when we set our goals for the year and would love to hear your input. 

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