Monday, September 21, 2009

S.C. 46 work nearly complete; DOT digs in on Bruin Road

Bluffton Today

I want to thank all of you who called or emailed this week regarding my comments last week on the cultural aspects of our beautiful piece of the Lowcountry.

The idea that a rich and interesting culture is good for business is not original with me but it is something that I have managed to leverage from time to time. I think the fact that even with serious downpours last Friday, the Art in the Windows and the Old Town Art Walk were successful says a lot about what people value and want to support. This value is what accounts for many of the new businesses opening in Bluffton.

Another thing that helps to define our community is the value we place on our natural resources. Every time the Friends of the Rivers has a river cleanup, there are always crowds of folks there to lend a hand. Every time I ask you to show up at a meeting to help our state regulators understand our community’s insistence upon meaningful oversight of development, you are there in overwhelming numbers. Your commitment to this cause is my commitment as well.

As your representative, I express that commitment to conservation and preservation of our natural heritage within the General Assembly on every possible occasion. In fact, I was in Columbia this week to accept the “Legislator of the Year” award from the Conservation Voters of South Carolina at their annual Green Tie Luncheon. This is an award I accepted on your behalf.

For those outside the town limits of Bluffton, and especially my friends out in Sun City, I want you to know the bulk of the roadwork in Old Town is coming to an end. They have been working 24/7 to finish the section of May River Road in the Historic District. While it is not absolutely complete, it is pretty close.

There have been a few issues regarding the streetscape that I have been able to work out by providing good offices between my pal, Buck Limehouse, Secretary of SCDOT, and the Town of Bluffton. I recently spoke with Mayor Lisa Sulka, Assistant Town Manager Marc Orlando, and newly installed Manager Anthony Barrett about Bruin Road and how the town and DOT might work together to get beyond some troublesome technical matters. It was a good meeting and it also helped to keep the lines of communication working between the different levels of government.

Lastly, many of the calls this week had to do with Congressman Joe Wilson. The feeling is obviously running high on this topic. So high, in fact, that much of the commentary was about how people were feeling, and not so much about what they were thinking. I’m going to hold my thoughts on this matter for a while until things cool off and perhaps a bit of perspective can reenter the conversation. I will say this: Congressman Wilson has a staffer in his Beaufort office that is the wizard of visa and passport issues. Chris Steele has been able to work administrative magic (the hardest kind) on a number of cases I have referred. Her number in Beaufort is 521-2530.

Don’t forget the Bluffton Jazz and Blues Festival on Saturday, 3 Oct. Also, the Historic Bluffton Arts and Seafood Festival is 18-25 Oct. All will be big fun: More info later.