June 2023 Around Town

May 26, 2023

Hilton Head Approves 1st reading of Proposed Budget
Hilton Head Island Town Council approved the first reading of the Town’s proposed $129.95 million consolidated budget for fiscal year 2024 at its May 2 meeting. The proposed budget includes no increase in the property tax millage rate, which remains at 23.10 mills, according to the town. It also includes continued funding for workforce housing and land acquisition priorities; funds the hiring of two firefighters, a fire inspector, one emergency medical services lieutenant, a mechanic and a communications and marketing administrator in the Town’s Fire Rescue Department. It includes a merit increase of up to 4% as part of a benefit package for Town employees. It also includes funds for the Gullah Geechee Historic Neighborhoods Community Development Corporation ($5.34 million) and housing funds ($3.35 million).
The proposed consolidated budget executive summary and presentation are available on the Town’s website at hiltonheadislandsc.gov.

A public hearing and second reading of the proposed budget are scheduled for 3 p.m. June 6. View the meetings on the Town’s Facebook page or YouTube channel, the Beaufort County Channel and Spectrum Channel 1304.

Bluffton celebrates Arbor Day with Martin Park plant
The Town of Bluffton celebrated Arbor Day by planting a Live Oak at Martin Family Park.

The tree is in the park’s southwest corner, adjacent to Green Street. The town is celebrating more than a decade of being named a “Tree City USA Community.”
It has earned that designation each year since 2012 and plans to continue its efforts each year by planting more trees throughout the community.
Town Manager Stephen Steese said the meaningful designation keeps the community mindful of the numerous benefits of trees.

“Trees are a main ingredient in what makes Bluffton such a beautiful town,” Steese said. “Arbor Day gives residents an opportunity to stop and take notice of natural beauty around us while being grateful for their benefits such as natural beauty, shade, animal habitats, stormwater absorption, and oxygen providers.”

Hilton Head Fire Rescue Seeks Input For Strategic Plan
Hilton Head Island Fire Rescue seeks community input for its three-year strategic plan. For access to an online survey, or to register for one of the in-person sessions, visit hiltonheadislandsc.gov/firerescue/strategicplan/

In-person sessions are 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. June 5 at Town Hall Council Chambers (1 Town Center Court) and 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. June 6 at Fire Rescue Headquarters (40 Summit Drive). For more information, contact Christopher Osterman, Battalion Chief-Strategic Planning, at 843-682 5100 or ChristopherO@hiltonheadislandsc.gov.

Bluffton opens Park Includes amphitheater in Buckwalter Place
The Town of Bluffton recently celebrated the opening of its second public park in Buckwalter Place. It includes a fenced-in park, complete with restrooms, benches, outdoor bistro furniture, an amphitheater and a large field. The park is adjacent to the Town’s Buckwalter Place Park, where the Bluffton Veterans Memorial Park resides. The second park will become an extension of the Buckwalter Place Park, and its sections will also be available for renting and events beginning in July, a news release said.

“Purchasing this park just made perfect sense,” Mayor Lisa Sulka said. “This enlarges the Town’s park portfolio in one of the town’s fastest growing areas and adds an oasis of recreation amidst the commercial offerings of Buckwalter Place.”

She added: “The park is a force multiplier for sponsoring and hosting community events to gather outside of the Historic District.”

District honors more than 100 high school seniors
The Beaufort County School District recognized 108 high school seniors for outstanding academic achievement at its annual Senior Scholars Banquet. Senior Scholars are students who have been enrolled in a Beaufort County School District high school for a minimum of three consecutive semesters by the second semester of the senior year, who have maintained a cumulative 3.5 grade-point average or higher, are ranked in the top 10 percent of their graduating classes, and earned the equivalent of an 85 percent grade or higher in college prep courses, an 80 percent grade or higher in honors courses, and a 75 percent grade or higher in advanced placement, international baccalaureate, or dual enrollment courses in all quarters of their high school career. For a list of students honored, visit beaufortschools.net/whats-new

The Bank Set to Debut
Brewery and Beer Garden plans to open June 6. The Bank, a 72,000-square-foot brewery, beer garden and restaurant complex, is expected to open 11 a.m. June 6.
The project is at 59 Pope Ave. It includes indoor and outdoor seating, Side Hustle Brewing Company craft brews on tap, outdoor activities including a family zone and live entertainment, a merchandise shop, four new dining options: Mo’ Money Tacos, Bank Heist Burgers, All About the Benjamins Seafood, and Dollar Billy’s Ice Cream & Treats food trucks in addition to Pizza Co.’s second location.

The Bank, along with Moon King Entertainment Group and the Watterson Family Foundation, is creating a new fund to focus on Hilton Head Island housing, childcare and preservation initiatives. Specifically, a portion of every transaction completed at The Bank will go into the Island Legacy Fund, managed by the Community Foundation of the Lowcountry, a news release said.

Summer Saturdays for Kids
The Children’s Center of Hilton Head is offering Summer Saturdays to help workers in the Lowcountry. Running through Sept. 16, each Saturday the program offers quality childcare from 7:45 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. Kids 2 to 8 years old enjoy activities such as arts and crafts and are entertained by guests. Last summer Jevon Daly played music. The children are provided with lunch and snacks.
The goal, according to The Children’s Center website, is “to provide working parents a safe and educationally enriching place to bring their children.”
The program is $25 for the first child and $15 for each sibling. Parents can sign-up anytime during the summer. Last season 28 kids participated in Summer Saturdays. For more information, visit 843-681-2739 or email keisha.fields@thechildrenscentersc.org

HHI Land Trust Names Ospreys
The Hilton Head Island Land Trust said two ospreys have been named in honor of two iconic figures in the island’s history: Charles Fraser, the developer and founder of The Sea Pines Company, and Charlotte Heinrichs, founder of The Deep Well Project. The ospreys have been named Charles and Charlotte. Watch Charles and Charlotte at hhilandtrust.org/raptorcam.

Heritage Academy student earns prestigious scholarship
Pressley Ann Childs, a senior at Heritage Academy, was selected to receive a $2,500 STAR Scholarship from the P.E.O. Sisterhood. She was recommended by P.E.O. Chapter AG of Hilton Head Island. The P.E.O. STAR Scholarship was established in 2009 to provide scholarships for exceptional women in their final year of high school to attend an accredited postsecondary educational institution in the U.S. or Canada in the next academic year. At Heritage Academy, she started a Math Club, serves as a math tutor and leads an SAT prep class. She also started a Baking Club, organizing a bake sale, which raised more than $1,500 for the Boys and Girls Club. Childs will attend Cornell University in the fall.

Bluffton Township Fire District earns Safe Community designation
For the fourth consecutive year, Bluffton Township Fire District received a “Fire Safe South Carolina Community” designation for its commitment to reducing fire-related injuries and promoting consistent fire safety messaging, a news release said. The Fire District will receive official recognition at the state Fire-Rescue Conference in June. To earn the designation, fire district staff completed courses intended to improve data quality related to fire scenes, conducted in-home safety visits, and further developed their skills through National Fire Academy courses in risk reduction and assessment.

Coastal Discovery Museum Opens Garden Labyrinth
Coastal Discovery Museum held a ribbon cutting in May for the newest exhibit, “Garden Labyrinth.” The Women’s Association of Hilton Head Island provided a gift to commemorate its 60th anniversary for the new garden labyrinth.

Labyrinths act as a symbol for the journey of life and may serve as a place of meditation and contemplation and be a place to be active participants with their environment, a news release said. The construction of the Labyrinth includes paved pathways to make the exhibit handicap accessible and native plants for the hedge walls are used. WAHHI’s gift promotes the “natural and cultural beauty” of the island and recognizes how WAHHI has helped the museum and the island throughout its first 60 years, said Tamra Avrit, WAHHI’s 60th Anniversary year president.

“Immerse yourself in the beauty of the labyrinth and let it inspire moments of reflection and serenity,” Coastal Discovery Museum posted on Facebook.
Admission is free.

Art League Highlights TOP Artwork Biennale exhibit runs through June 17
Representing artists from South Carolina and across the country, the Art League of Hilton Head’s 2023 Biennale showcases exemplary artwork.
The national call for entries attracted 639 artworks from 35 states. Top pieces were selected based on the originality of concept, composition and execution.
The exhibition, which is the longest-running national juried art exhibition in the area, features multiple media types including Oil, Acrylic, Pastel, Watermedia, Photography, Mixed Media and Three-Dimensional. More than $5,000 in prizes are awarded to the most outstanding works, selected by this year’s Biennale Judge, Aline Ordman. Ordman, who received her BFA at Cornell University, is known for her vivid paintings and creative use of color. The exhibition runs through June 17.
The work is on display at the Art League Gallery inside the Arts Center of Coastal Carolina on Hilton Head Island.

Suspect in Bluffton teen’s murder Sentenced to 40 years
A Hardeeville resident involved in a roadway shooting that killed Bluffton High School football player D’won “D.J.” Fields Jr., was sentenced to 40 years in prison, according to the 14th Circuit Solicitor’s Office. Solicitor Duffie Stone prosecuted Jimmy Lewis Green for the March 2021 shooting death of Fields Jr., an 18-year-old Bluffton High School senior. Green was one of four defendants. Circuit Court Judge D. Craig Brown sentenced him.
The No. 55 worn by Fields Jr. was retired last year by Bluffton High School.