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Hilton Head Island Mayor John McCann

Feb 2, 2020

A Note from Mayor McCann

John McCann

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Reinvesting in Ourselves: Our Focus for 2020 and Beyond

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What I know for sure about Hilton Head Island is that it’s the best island in America. Awards we’ve received from esteemed media like Condé Nast Traveler and Southern Living measure how well liked our island is by millions of visitors who flock here for vacations and business trips. But, I measure it more so by our residents who are afforded the opportunity to enjoy our natural environment, parks, recreation, culture and rich history. They contribute their time and talent through a well of volunteerism that speaks to how much we support each other, whether reading to elementary school children or serving meals at local food kitchens. We have good schools, health care, and sewer access, thanks to a partnership that raised millions of dollars to pay for sewer connections for those who couldn’t afford it on their own. Our town staff works incredibly hard to ensure we are fiscally strong and provide services for residents. These truisms emerged during Town Council’s recent workshop that took place in neighboring Beaufort last December.

Our workshop consultant, Julia Novak, led my fellow Town Council members and me in healthy discussions on what we appreciate about Hilton Head Island today and what we hope it will be in 10 years. As we embark through this new decade, we hope to be one island and a leader in community building.

We hope for workforce and housing opportunities that resolve the challenges we have in those two areas. We hope for open space that will give us room to breathe. We hope to have thriving heritage tourism, a central gathering place, a vibrant economy and best-in-class facilities. Our list of hopes was much longer, but we were able to narrow it down to three areas of focus for us in 2020: exceptional quality of life, prosperity and innovation, and best-in-class services and facilities.

Exceptional quality of life sounds like a pie-in-the-sky kind of view, but it is truly what we want for everyone who lives and works here. This category includes issues we have dealt with recently such as the U.S. 278 corridor project and Mitchelville/Gullah Geechee cultural preservation. In this category, we added protecting our environment for the future and the proposed referendum, which we hope will raise $65 million to fund projects in recreation and arts.

We’ll continue our efforts in workforce development and housing and our comprehensive plan under the category of prosperity and innovation. In addition, we would like to develop master plans for specific areas of the island and a plan that markets our community as a great place to live.

Best-in-class services and facilities speaks to what we offer our residents: great recreational facilities, beach parks, pathways, fire and rescue, well-trained and knowledgeable staff who are responsive, and sufficient budgets for various projects. Since our workshop, town staff has been working to flesh out specific strategies and tactics for each of these areas. They will then present these to the full Town Council for review and approval. We’ll keep you posted on our progress.

John McCann is the mayor of Hilton Head Island.

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