Monday, July 27, 2009

'Green and Clean equals quality of life and jobs'

Bluffton Today

A couple of weeks ago, we learned that the Inn at Palmetto Bluff has been named the number one resort in the USA and Canada by Travel and Leisure Magazine. The Inn was also rated number fourteen in the world by the magazine’s readers’ survey.

There was a segment on the “Today” show featuring visitors boating, kayaking, biking and playing golf. It was well-earned recognition for the excellent planning of the overall Palmetto Bluff community, and especially the many, many folks who staff the Village and the Inn and work hard every day to show visitors the best of service in an incomparable setting.

The very things that draw people from around the country and across the globe to the Inn at Palmetto Bluff are the very things that we experience as the Bluffton quality of life. Those things are, of course, the green Lowcountry landscape and the clean water of the May River. Without “green and clean” there would likely be no Palmetto Bluff community and certainly no world-class hotel. Bluffton would be a different and less prosperous and interesting place without our natural amenities. There would also be many fewer good jobs, fewer successful businesses, and fewer visitors.

Friends, when I heard the good news about the Inn at Palmetto Bluff, it reminded me of one of my core political beliefs: Green and Clean Equals Quality of Life and Jobs. It is simple, direct and true.

Speaking of businesses and jobs, Old Town Bluffton appears to be leading the area out of the recession. Despite having one of our main roads completely torn up for months, Old Town is growing jobs as forward thinking business people are opening new restaurants, shops, galleries, and service outlets.

The Carson Cottages on Calhoun Street are completely committed with more building on the way. Magnolia Village across the street from Palmetto State Bank has completed a doubling of their space with many of the new units already spoken for. In my neighborhood, the Calhoun Street Promenade has just opened Captain Woody’s, a long awaited addition to the fine complement of eateries in the Old Town. They will soon be joined by Ted Huffman’s Barbeque Shack-- complete with a handmade smoker from Hilton Head metal artist Kevin Lawless. There is also the Promenade Hair Design shop to make you look good, as well as Patricia’s Alterations to make your clothes look better. Your house will also benefit from a visit to Designer Accents, a creative take on recycling cool stuff.

Needless to say, Old Town Bluffton is generating a lot of what the economic development people call “body heat”. In fact, from walking around town and chatting with merchants, it seems that business across the board is looking up. With the stock market showing a little life, people seem increasingly optimistic. There are even a few new houses being built.

Across the state, the economic forecasters I have spoken with are not quite so optimistic. The beginnings of recovery may have begun here, but let’s not lose sight of the above-mentioned political equation.

Next week, Conservation Voters of South Carolina (CVSC) is having a green tie luncheon to honor legislators who “get it”. If you or your company wants to participate, give us a call at the office for details. You might recognize one of the honorees.