A town’s future depends on…

Last Call

marc freyThree things: The envisioned outcome, a plan and the xwillingness to execute it over a long period of time.

Three years ago such a general road map was delivered to the town council and the public titled the “Mayor’s Vision Task Force Vision 2025.” A progress report contributed by Lisa Allen can be read on page 76 of this issue. If you are interested in reading the original document, go to www.hiltonheadmonthly.com/taskforce.

Having been part of the voices that raised concerns about the future of our community and the group that came up with the suggested solutions, I’m using this month “Last Call” to give you my own perspective.

First, the good news: Some important progress has been made.

Now, the bad news: Some important progress has been made. What is missing has me concerned!

Here are a few examples of specific items that have not been resolved:

Charles Fraser was green before green become synonymous with being environmentally friendly.  Since then we have fallen behind what is possible and we should formulate a 5-year plan of where we want to be. So far the town has not even committed enough funds to conduct a  baseline study, which would allow us to put facts and figures on the situation and measure the improvements going forward.

The long overdue re-write of the LMO (Land Maintenance Ordinance) will soon be done, but equally important is for the town to have a master plan allowing future development steps to fit into the overall picture.

A clear plan for the future infrastructure of the ever-so-important Island Rec Center is still outstanding.

A commitment to build and support a multi-use art and conference center is not on the horizon … yet.

We have not been able to increase our funding to properly market our destination to visitors. Taxation without representation. Second homeowners pay a much higher property taxes then residents. Given the economic importance of second home ownership I feel this practice needs to be reviewed.

My general impression is that there is not enough coherent communication among the leaders of our community in order to crystalize how we get from here to there. Secondly, it seems to take forever to get anything done in part because of the risk advert nature of our leaders or maybe because the importance to set large goals has not been embraced. Thirdly, the “things are good enough” attitude might start to take hold again. If we want to truly become the East Coast’s most desirable small town to live, retire and visit, we still have a lot of important steps that need to be taken. If nothing else, I want to warn all of us not to fall asleep at the wheel again just because the economic conditions have improved. Let’s use the forward momentum that has been created through the steps that have been taken and the investment of time and money of many individuals and companies in the private sector, not-for-profit organizations and the government sector and keep on aspiring to something grander. It will serve us and our children and grandchildren well.

Please send your comments to my email at mfrey@freymedia.com. We would like to get your feedback on this important idea.