Ebony Gadson, 17, a member of the Bluffton Boys & Girls Club, was named the Lowcountry Youth of the Year for the second year in a row. During her eight years at the Bluffton Boys & Girls Club, Gadson has proven herself an example of the values and skills that the Boys & Girls Club strives to instill in its members — determination, leadership skills and hard work. In 2015, Gadson won the S.C. Youth of the Year title as well, and will compete for the 2016 title this year.
Bluffton was named by Forbes Magazine as one of the top 25 places to retire in 2016, citing the weather, the availability of many popular outdoor activities like golf and tennis, as well as reasonable taxes and cost of living. Bluffton was the only South Carolina town named to the list, though 14 of the 25 destinations are located in the Southeast.
The new shopping center being constructed at the corner of Fording Island and Burnt Church roads in Bluffton will feature Hobby Lobby, The Fresh Market, and PGA Tour Superstore. There are also plans for the space to include some restaurants. There are also plans to include a Sleep Number store and an Aspen Dental office. The shopping center is planned to be completed in the first quarter of 2017.
State lawmakers are expected to take up a bill lowering the speed limit on a stretch of Boundary Street in Old Town Bluffton from 25 mph to 15 mph. The new limit would slow traffic between May River Road and Bridge Street. The street is home to Bluffton’s visitor center, the Heyward House and DuBois Park.
The South Carolina Department of Parks, Recreation & Tourism recently awarded the town of Bluffton a $200,000 Undiscovered South Carolina Grant to rehabilitate the historic Garvin House, which is the earliest-known home built by a freed slave on the May River. The grant will be used for restoration work, which is scheduled to begin this year.
The process has begun for Bluffton residents to have a courtesy dock, a two-lane boat ramp, new accessible sidewalks and expanded parking spaces at the Oyster Factory Park by summer. The town of Bluffton contracted with Hilton Head Island-based Nix Construction and Ridgeland-based JS Construction Services to manage the estimated $879,000 project.
The Bluffton Police Department has implemented new security measures for all Bluffton Town Council meetings as part of an update to town policies and procedures. “We have an obligation to provide a safe and secure place for the public. We aren’t here to impose on anyone’s privacy; we just want to protect them,” said Bluffton Police Chief Joey Reynolds.
Sixteen-year-old Bluffton resident Lee Jean was featured in the premiere episode of the popular Fox TV reality series “American Idol.” Jean impressed judges Jennifer Lopez, Keith Urban and Harry Connick Jr., receiving votes from all three for his performance of “I See Fire” and earning a golden ticket to the Hollywood round of the show.
A frontage road connecting Berkeley Hall, St. Gregory the Great Catholic Church and the Bluffton Township Fire District headquarters is now under construction. The long-debated project is expected to be completed by August. A new traffic signal and deceleration lane will be added to U.S. 278 in front of the fire headquarters.
A new technology to help identify stolen property was recently introduced by the Bluffton Police Department. The new technology is called Anti-Theft Dots, a special adhesive that can be applied to all types of property. Suspended in the adhesive are thousands of tiny microdots, smaller than the size of a grain of sand. Each microdot contains a unique PIN, which is registered and stored in a secure database.