Monday, April 20, 2009

Heritage success bodes well for tourism season

Bluffton Today

Nature and excellent organization combined to give us one of the most memorable golf tournaments in recent memory over on Hilton Head Island.

The Verizon Heritage at the Harbour Town Golf Links was not immune to the current economic dislocation, but reports from around the area seem to point to better than expected business activity generated by the event. As the traditional kick-off to the tourist season in our part of the Lowcountry, the Heritage success certainly bodes well for the local economy in the coming months.

Even with heavy construction along May River Road, the last few weeks have seen a steady stream of visitors to Old Town Bluffton. There were several recent corporate events at Palmetto Bluff, along with Easter vacations and Spring Break for the college kids that seemed to have Calhoun Street buzzing. With the Farmer’s Market coming to the Carson Cottages on Calhoun Street this week, businesses in Old Town Bluffton have every reason to look forward to a good season.

I want to thank my friends Don Ryan and Chris Long at CareCore National for the tremendous presentation they put together for some special visitors to the Lowcountry, as well as a group of my legislative colleagues. CareCore, as you may know, is the anchor tenant in the Bluffton Tech Park. They, along with CEO Don Ryan, have been instrumental in helping us attract interesting and appropriate business concerns to the Bluffton area.

As chairman of the Economic Development Subcommittee of the House Ways and Means Committee, I have dealings with a number of companies seeking to relocate to our state. It is invaluable to be able to refer them to a successful company such as CareCore, which has recently moved a good portion of its operation to the Bluffton area. They have good answers to all the questions that these companies may have about relocating to a high potential area such as ours.

The remainder of the session will be marked by a good deal of furlough time. This presents some unique challenges for your representative and your delegation. It is good that I can spend more time on constituent service, but not so good when it comes to pushing through our legislative agenda.

Working the phone is something I do pretty well, but it’s a lot more convenient to walk over to a fellow legislator’s desk and have a conversation about how we might be able to assist one another in doing the people’s business. One of the positives of the truncated session is the Coastal Caucus has become more organized and more energized. We have scheduled meetings every month through Sept., covering everything from environmental concerns to how we can get more bang for the buck from our tourism dollars.

We are still seeing customer service numbers around 350 contacts per week. Fortunately, the office staff has become so good and so accustomed to the higher level of correspondence; we still have excellent turn around. If you have a question or concern, give us a call, an email, or visit in person. We can help.