A WORD WITH JOHN MCCANN: John McCann has been mayor of the Town of Hilton Head since 2018. He has decided to not seek another term in the upcoming election. McCann answers questions from Monthly about the Mid-Island Park project and expectations for his favorite baseball team. The responses have been edited for length and clarity.
- The Mid-Island Park project has been touted as one of the island’s biggest initiatives. What do you hope will be the impact of the proposed project? The Mid-Island Park will be more than a park; it will anchor the redevelopment of the Mid-Island Initiative Area. The Mid-Island Initiative Area includes the most economically and socially diverse areas of the island, including several other Town-owned properties, five Historic Gullah Neighborhoods, Port Royal Plaza, Sea Turtle Marketplace, Northridge Plaza, Hilton Head Island Airport, the Mitchelville Historic Freedom Park, Fort Howell, and the residential and commercial areas in between. The Town will leverage its investment in the Mid-Island Park to spur redevelopment of the surrounding areas, using the future Mid-Island Initiative Area plan as a guide.
- What are other upcoming development projects on Hilton Head Island that you are most excited about? The enhancements to our corridors including adaptive traffic signals on William Hilton Parkway, Palmetto Bay Road, and Pope Avenue, the redevelopment of Crossings and Chaplin parks, the paving of dirt roads, improvements to our beach parks, and the Town’s partnership to develop workforce and affordable housing are just a few of the many exciting projects on the Island. The Town’s capital investments in public facilities and infrastructure will encourage private redevelopment while area plans and zoning regulations will ensure the projects are appropriate for the scale and aesthetics of the Island.
- Is there an aspect of Hilton Head Island’s history that you appreciate and might not be widely known? In the Revolutionary War we fought for our independence from Europe: England, France and others, only to later fight for the freedom of the enslaved, and we continue to fight today for the underdog. Freedom does not come easy.
- How confident are you that the Town will continue to make progress on workforce housing plans and why? Developing workforce and affordable housing on Hilton Head Island is the right thing to do. It’s needed and with the leadership of Marc Orlando, our Town Manager, we have a creative plan for the program. We have identified the Town-owned Northpointe tract next to the north-end post office as the ideal location for the first housing venture. There are many people who desire to live in the community where they work. We want to make that happen, so we are in the process of identifying a private development partner who can help us achieve our goal.
- What makes you confident the New York Yankees will win the World Series? As a longtime fan I’m confident about getting into the playoffs. I wear my Yankee shirt to all Yankee games on TV as I’m not traveling much this year.
*Responses have been edited for length and clarity.