Town officials plan for future

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Town officials plan for future

BY TIM DONNELLY<br>THE ISLAND PACKET
Published Friday, December 9, 2005 in The Island Packet  |  598 Words  |  /IslandPacket/news/local

BEAUFORT -- Top town officials unleashed their wish lists for Hilton Head Island during the first day of their annual goal-setting workshop Thursday, primarily focusing on redevelopment efforts that involve a new park commemorating the 50th anniversary of Sea Pines.'
Highlights of the first day of the three-day workshop included the unveiling of a sketch for a plan for the Dunnagans Alley area to become a pedestrian-friendly, brick-paved plaza to turn the area into a center of activity.'
The attached land where Rock's seafood market and Remy's bar once stood would be developed into a small park, tentatively named Compass Rose Park, in honor of the emblem of Sea Pines, which celebrates its 50th anniversary next year. Officials said it would be a fitting tribute to the development that essentially set the tone for the rest of Hilton Head.'
"That is something that had a major impact on how this island developed and this whole region developed," town manager Steve Riley said.'
Thursday's meeting helped set the tone for major redevelopment the town wants to accomplish in 2006 in five areas: Coligny, Dunnagans, Mathews Drive, the Office Park corridor and the entrance to the island in the Stoney community.'
The town is talking about making several aggressive land purchases at the entrance to the island to consolidate some of the property it owns. The idea is to spruce up that section of town to be more attractive because every visitor arriving by car has to pass through it.'
The council also effectively agreed to kill a proposed law enforcement center that was planned for a piece of town-owned land behind Pineland Station. Traffic and parking concerns threatened to stand in the way of the project.'
"Let's kill that plan and get on with it," Riley said.'
The council and Town Hall department heads meet in Beaufort every year to map out a detailed, comprehensive plan for the coming year, tackling everything from small road improvements to overall philosophical and strategic approaches to governance. The meetings are headed by Lyle Sumek, a Florida-based consultant.'
In mapping out their wish lists at the beginning of the workshop, several council members mentioned new initiatives for the town, including creating an arts council that could oversee or coordinate all the arts organizations on the island and re-evaluating the idea of a limited-services government that the town was founded on.'
"We should give serious consideration to break from that limited role," Councilman Bill Mottel said, suggesting a possible consolidation of the three public service districts.'
Emphasis was put on getting several long-discussed redevelopment projects off the ground, with focus on coordinating efforts in the Coligny area to possibly build a parking garage, relocate some businesses and get new off-road pathways under construction.'
The town also wants to get the roadway widening and pathway construction along Mathews Drive moving forward quickly, even if key plans for traffic circles have to be worked out later.'
Though many issues were discussed on a long-term scale, several have to be handled almost immediately. Discussion about the future of town land at Honey Horn, the Coastal Discovery Museum's expansion plans and a possible buyout of the current museum and welcome center building could happen in the next few months, officials said.'
The workshop continues today and Saturday at the Best Western Sea Island Inn in Beaufort. The planning sessions, which are open to the public, begin at 8:30 a.m.