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.
Beaufort native Ron Parker announced his retirement from the NFL in January. The defensive back played for the Kansas City Chiefs for the past five years. He gave no indication for what’s next, including for the annual football camp he hosts each year in Beaufort.
The town of Bluffton is mourning 5-year-old Ameer Frazier after a traffic accident following the Bluffton Christmas Parade on Dec. 7. Ameer was severely injured at the end of the parade as all the floats and vehicles were disbanding in the Red Cedar Elementary School parking lot. He was transported by EMS to Memorial Health University Medical Center in Savannah, where he died, officials said. No charges are pending in the accident.
The nonprofit organization 50 Red Swings recently donated two adaptive playground swings at Oscar Frazier Park and DuBois Park. The red swings are part of Bluffton’s commitment to install inclusive playground equipment for children with disabilities. The swings are full-body swings with safety harnesses for children up to 125 pounds.
Political newcomer Bridgette Frazier won a seat on the Bluffton Town Council in the Nov. 5 election. Frazier, 36, is a Hilton Head Island Middle School teacher and small business owner. She promised to focus on Bluffton’s changing identity, over-development, affordable housing, worker shortages and diversity. She is the daughter of Bluffton’s poet laureate, the late Oscar Frazier.
BLUFFTON BUILDING MEMORIAL TO VETERANS
Other towns across the United States have memorials to commemorate those who fought and who died for their country, but there is not one in the town of Bluffton.
That’s about to change.
Next year, Bluffton residents will be able to celebrate Veterans Day at a new memorial currently under construction at Buckwalter Place.
The town of Bluffton now requires a public notice sign at the site of each new development project at the beginning of the application process to enhance public notification about new projects. The signs are required to be erected within 15 days of submitting the completed development application. The signs will have a permit number that will correspond to the project on the town of Bluffton’s Permit Application Finder Map, where residents can track a specific project. For more information, go to www.townofbluffton.us/permit.
Bluffton residents can cast their ballots on Nov. 5 for mayor and two Bluffton Town Council seats during the municipal general election Nov. 5. Those seats are currently held by Mayor Lisa Sulka and councilmembers Dan Wood and Harry Lutz. To vote, residents must be registered by Oct. 4. To check your voter registration status or verify your precinct or polling location, call 843-255-6900 or go to www.bcgov.net/vote.