Stephenie Price has been named the new Bluffton Police Department Police Chief.  Price, who serves as assistant chief of police for the Savannah Police Department, will begin her new role Oct. 12, a town news release said.

“Stephenie’s combined depth of law enforcement experience and knowledge of our region is why she is the perfect choice for Bluffton,” Bluffton Town Manager Marc Orlando said. “Throughout Stephenie’s career, she has built a strong reputation for responsiveness, accountability, and innovation.”

biketaxi

The Town of Bluffton has partnered with Bluffton Bike Taxi to offer free rides throughout the town’s historic district.

The rides are offered from 5 p.m.  to 9 p.m., Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays.

The Bluffton Book Festival, which annually aims to raise literacy levels in the Southeast, has gone virtual this year because of the coronavirus pandemic, according to a news release. 

The festival’s fifth year will include 11 virtual events featuring bestselling authors. The event will move from its normal three-day schedule to a format with events taking place between Sept. 17 and Nov. 21. 

The Lutzie 43K Virtual 5K, part of the Town of Bluffton’s distracted driving campaign, raised more than $4,700. Bluffton Mayor Lisa Sulka accepted checks from the Kiwanis Club of Bluffton and CrossFit843 for donations collected in conjunction with the event. The Kiwanis Club of Bluffton presented a check for $2,535, and CrossFit843 presented a check for $1,000. The Mike Hostilo Law Firm contributed to the overall donations by advertising and promoting the event. 

St. Gregory the Great Catholic Church is in unincorporated Beaufort County, but it hopes to seek annexation into Bluffton. The property has a Bluffton address but is not in town limits. Church officials have made an annexation request to the Town of Bluffton. The property is located on U.S. 278 between the Buckwalter Parkway intersection and Bluffton Township Fire District Station 35. 

The Town of Bluffton awarded a construction contract to Jordan Construction of Hilton Head, Inc., to install sanitary sewers on Pritchard Street. This first phase is comprised of installing 2,550 linear feet of main sewer lines and will service 25 properties with houses and four additional undeveloped lots. The $513,431 project is funded through stormwater utility fees of $225,930, a South Carolina Appropriation grant of $95,950 and a portion of the S.C. DHEC grant totaling $191,551 for this project.

The town of Bluffton has plans to turn a 760-acre parcel of undeveloped land into a large public park. Plans include an open-air picnic shelter, more than 4 miles of hiking and biking trails, and kayaking and canoe trails along the New River. Plans also call for two camping sites. The town council is expected to vote on the proposal in the coming months. 

PERFORMING ARTS CENTER PLANNED IN BLUFFTON

Two local organizations have teamed up to bring a performing arts center to Bluffton.

Live Oak Christian Church and Main Street Youth Theatre are combining their efforts to build a cultural arts center on property the church owns near Old Town Bluffton. The 400-seat venue, leaders of both groups say, will have a variety of uses, from housing the church to theater productions by local and national talent, plus uses by other local organizations.

The Beaufort County School District held two groundbreaking ceremonies in January for the first two referendum-funded projects at River Ridge Academy and May River High School. The projects will cost over $25 million and construction is expected to conclude late-summer 2020. Four new classrooms are being built on each of two existing wings at River Ridge, and a new eight-classroom wing also is being added for a total of 16 new classrooms. At May River High, a new two-story wing containing 23 classrooms is under construction.