ISLAND REC CENTER IS GETTING A $13 MILLION FACELIFT

If you grew up on Hilton Head Island — or if your kids grew up here — it’s a good bet you have been one of the hundreds of thousands of residents who have benefitted from programs at the Island Recreation Center.

Forty years ago, as more people moved to the island and it began to be known as a resort destination, town leaders realized that developing a parks and recreation program was essential to building a vital and healthy community. And so the Hilton Head Island Recreation Association was born.

WHEN BLUFFTON CONTINUES TO GROW IN THE FUTURE — AND IT WILL — SPACE WON’T BE AN ISSUE. THERE ARE ACRES UPON ACRES OF UNDEVELOPED LAND. WHAT WAS A NO-DESTINATION VILLAGE JUST 10 YEARS AGO HAS EMERGED AS THE FASTEST-GROWING MUNICIPALITY IN SOUTH CAROLINA.

Private schools in the area, however, have been squeezed by space limitations and growing student enrolments. But they have taken steps to resolve their growing gains. Here’s a look at what’s going on at local private schools.

THE CHILDREN'S CENTER TURNS 50

For the past 50 years, the Children’s Center of Hilton Head Island has provided an invaluable service to the working parents of the Lowcountry. Thanks to reduced tuition for low-income residents, all members of the community can take advantage of the nonprofit group’s programs offering safe and creative environments for children that encourage learning, personal growth and development.

Cross Schools has been named the recipient of a 2017 Shade Structure Program Grant by the American Academy of Dermatology.

The grant will provide $8,000 for the purchase and installation of a permanent shade structure. Cross Schools is one of several organizations this year to receive a grant from the AAD’s Shade Structure Program.

Thanks to a $9,015 grant from The Patagonia Environmental Grants and Support Program, the group is launching the Oyster Recycling and Reef Building Initiative, a community-based oyster shell recycling and bed restoration project.

Residents can learn how to best respond to a disaster by attending a training class sponsored by the Community Emergency Response Team. Participants will learn to increase self-sufficiency in a disaster and provide emergency assistance to their families and neighbors.

The Community Foundation of the Lowcountry has announced board of director officers for the 2018 fiscal year. John Weymouth with serve as chair with Jeri Farren and Jim Allhusen serving as vice chairs, David Wetmore as treasurer and Denise Spencer as secretary.

In late June, the state’s highest sales tax on vehicles increased to $500, up from $300. That increase hit the purses of new-car buyers and used-car buyers who purchase a vehicle costing more than $6,000.

The increase in the state’s sales tax cap was included in the road-repair bill that S.C. lawmakers passed this spring to raise roughly $600 million a year by 2022 to fix the state’s crumbling roads.

After years of planning and fundraising, the new Beaufort County animal shelter is poised to become a reality.

The $7 million facility — a partnership between the county and the Hilton Head Humane Association — is set to be built on a six-acre site on S.C. 170 between Pritcher Point and Heffalump roads, next to the River’s End community in Okatie.

An individual on Hilton Head Island has been identified as the first person reported to be sick from West Nile Virus in South Carolina this year, according to the state Department of Health and Environmental Control.

DHEC stresses the importance of paying attention to the most effective ways to prevent mosquito-borne illnesses:

The Low Country Composite Squadron of the Civil Air Patrol recently served as the color guard during the presentation of the colors for a meeting held in Beaufort with S.C. Governor Henry McMaster. McMaster visited Beaufort to meet with local leaders, and during the meeting, cadets from the local Civil Air Patrol squadron presented the colors as the national anthem was performed for attendees. 

Publix Super MarketsOn July 13, volunteers braved extreme heat and humidity to raise the walls for a Habitat house funded by Publix Super Markets Charities. The house, located at The Glen on Hilton Head, will become home to Tomasina Cordero and her family.

THE TRENDY OLD TOWN AREA IS GETTING A LITTLE BIGGER. HERE’S WHAT TO EXPECT.

Just a few months ago, the buzz among the employees at Downtown Deli was palpable. Some kind of big meeting was coming up. But no one knew what it involved, why the staff was being kept in the dark, and why they were going to the old Piggly Wiggly building, of all places.

KNOW LOCAL LAWS TO HAVE A HAPPY FOURTH OF JULY

The Fourth of July without fireworks is like Christmas without Santa Claus. And while nothing says summer fun like an evening of brightly colored sparklers, local officials say it’s best to leave the big pyrotechnics displays to the professionals. 

According to Town of Hilton Head Island staff attorney Brian Hulbert, it is legal to shoot off fireworks on the island — but you’ll need a permit from the town manager if you want to light up your display on the beach, which Hulbert said is defined as the shoreline between Fish Haul Creek Park on Hilton Head’s north end and Lands End in Sea Pines. 

Deputy Chief Joseph Manning has been promoted to police chief, according to Bluffton town manager Marc Orlando.

“Maj. Manning has demonstrated his ability to lead our police department,” Orlando said. “His unrelenting work during Hurricane Matthew, his day-to-day ability to foster and support our community policing program, along with his extensive law enforcement experience and education, make Maj. Manning a natural and obvious choice to move into the role as our next police chief.”