It’s a little-known fact that Hilton Head Island is home to two of the three locked harbors on the East Coast of the United States.

Most visitors to the island have heard of a lock or canal system, like the Panama Canal, but aren’t sure how the systems work or what they are.

A lock system is a combination of gates and a chamber that allows a vessel to go from one water system at one level to another system a different level.

JUST A VISION OR AN EMERGING REALITY?

taskforceWhen the Great Recession slammed into Hilton Head Island in 2008, it zeroed in the island’s primary revenue sources: Real estate and tourism. The malaise sent the number of visitors plummeting and, more importantly, property values tumbling. Local business people scrambled to try to stop the free fall.

Throughout 2009, local business leaders arranged meetings to sound the alarm that Hilton Head wasn’t alone in battling the outgoing economic tide. Tony Fazzini, then president of Hilton Head Hospitality Association, was among the first to invite community leaders to open discussions about what they were experiencing. The talks also were intended to help the association, representing primarily food and beverage businesses, plan its direction, said Ann-Marie Adams, former executive director of the association.