Monday, December 20, 2010

Beach renourishment returns investment

Bluffton Today

First thing, on behalf of Mary and me, along with our great kids, Shelby and Cole, I want to extend to everyone in House District 118 of Bluffton and Beaufort County a very merry Christmas.

This is truly a time of family and friends, as well as a time to celebrate the reason for the season. Thanks for all the cards, letters, calls, e-mails, and especially the cookies we received over the past couple of weeks.

Our children are home from school and I imagine that many of your children are home as well. As we all make the rounds of holiday parties, please be careful and responsible with alcohol. As parents, we all know the anxiety and subdued panic of hearing the sirens on the road while our children are out attending holiday functions. Please insist on a designated driver when you travel to and from your celebrations, if there is a possibility that alcohol will be served.

My friend Eileen Brenner and her husband Milton invited me to speak to the Sun City branch of the AARP last week. It was a good group of folks and we had a fun time. I’m always a little surprised at how the range of activities at Sun City seems to keep the residents in good shape and involved in the affairs of the community.

It is heartening that older folks still have interests and concerns that extend far beyond that which only directly affects them. Tomorrow, Rep. Andy Patrick and I will meet with officials from the town of Hilton Head and officially present them with a check for $1 million to go toward their upcoming beach renourishment project. These dollars represent an investment that not only provides an outstanding amenity for our residents but also draws hundreds of thousands of visitors to Beaufort County each year. The return on investment of these dollars is huge.

There is also a certain satisfaction in repatriating these tax dollars back to Beaufort County. As a representative of a perennial donor county, one of my primary legislative agenda items is to work toward that day when we in Beaufort County get a dollar in value returned to us for each dollar we send to Columbia in taxation. We are still a long way off, but that million dollars is a good start.

This past week I also helped cut the ribbon with Mayor Pro Tempore Hamilton of the town of Bluffton for the new improvements to the Oyster Factory Park in Old Town Bluffton. I was able, along with Oyster Factory operators Larry and Tina Toomer, to secure a $50,000 grant to aid in the project, along with money from Beaufort County and the town of Bluffton.

Walking around town last week, there were a ton of visitors, but also a great number of locals, apparently exercising that “buy local” ethos. The point is this: these local businesses are your friends and neighbors.
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