Your town at work

mayorHilton Head Mayor Tom Peeples

As the summer season draws near, we have been hard at work to complete several new capital projects on the island. These projects will provide our residents and visitors with improved infrastructure and a new emergency service facility. 

Here is an update on some of our most recent projects:

William Hilton Parkway resurfacing and median curbing

Last year, the first phase of the U.S. 278 (Business) –William Hilton Parkway resurfacing project was completed. The project limits of Phase 1 extended from Whooping Crane Way to Shelter Cove Lane. This year, two more phases will be paved, from Shelter Cove Lane to the Sea Pines Circle, from Whooping Crane Way to Gumtree Road, and the short segment between the two off-island bridges. The resurfacing work is funded by Beaufort County’s 1 percent sales tax for road improvement projects. Additionally, the town has installed concrete curbing in the medians and shoulders of William Hilton Parkway where rutting or drop-offs had become a problem.

William Hilton Parkway intersection improvements

The town is making improvements to intersections along William Hilton Parkway at Beach City Road, Coggins Point Road, Burkes Beach Road and Jarvis Park Road.  These projects will provide improved turn lanes, some of which will serve as acceleration or deceleration lanes and will greatly enhance the safety and functionality of these intersections.

South island pathways

Three new pathways are being completed on the south end of the island, along New Orleans, Avocet and Lagoon Roads. The pathways will provide pedestrians and bicyclists with safe access to and from these thriving commercial areas. The pathways will also enhance the existing transportation system and extend its functionality, adding another mile to our 55 miles of existing public pathways

Land’s End groin Sea Pines beach

After a lengthy and arduous permitting process, the town has completed construction of a rock groin to mitigate beach erosion at Land’s End. Approximately 200 tons of stone was placed near the toe of the island, where Braddock Cove meets Calibogue Sound, to protect the adjacent beach and mitigate sand deposition at the entrance to Braddock Cove. This project was funded with Beach Preservation Fees.

Replacement of Fire Station 5

Construction is nearly complete on the replacement of Fire Station 5.  This facility, located just outside the main gates of Hilton Head Plantation, is a 12,172-square-foot structure, and will be used to house emergency responders for small storms and hurricanes. The grand opening is scheduled for this month.
Remember to drive safely and watch for pedestrians as you enjoy our wonderful community this summer.

lisa-sulkaBluffton Mayor Lisa Sulka

In 1979, President Jimmy Carter signed an executive order to create the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) by consolidating several government organizations.

That same year, FEMA purchased a 107-acre campus — which at one time housed the first parochial school for girls in the United States — for the specific purpose of housing the Emergency Management Institute (EMI), the U.S. Fire Administration and the National Fire Academy in suitable facilities. The three agencies continue to share the campus today, and are collectively designated as the National Emergency Training Center.

Today, EMI is accomplishing its mission of improving the competencies of United States officials at all levels of government to prevent, prepare for, respond to, recover from, and mitigate the potential effects of disasters and emergencies.

The EMI promotes integrated emergency management principles and practices through application of the National Response Framework, National Incident Management System, and an all-hazards approach. EMI is the lead national emergency management training and education institution.

Beaufort County was the first South Carolina county to be invited for training at the agency since Horry County officials attended in the early 1990s. Many municipalities have applied since, but none have been accepted until this year. Over a five-day period in the last week of March, 73 representatives from Beaufort County attended the emergency management training.

The town of Bluffton had three of the 75 positions, with Chief David McAllister, Frank Hodge, director of the office of construction and compliance, and myself attending. The remaining attendees were from the other municipalities, the county and other stakeholder entities, such as the water/sewer authority, the school district, United Way, etc.

This program was designed by FEMA to train our county officials on how to work together in the event of a major disaster in our area.

The training helped us to further understand how to coordinate the governmental entities involved with a recovery process, including power, water/sewer, road infrastructure, temporary housing and redevelopment.

The ultimate goal for the week was learning how to get our community up and running quickly should we be faced with any type of natural disaster.

As you know, it is not a matter of “if” a hurricane comes our way, but “when.”  We all need to be prepared and know how to react, or better yet, act when faced with an emergency.

For further information, visit www.training.fema.gov.