Wednesday, October 12, 2011

From the House

Bluffton Today

We had an extraordinary number of calls last week on a variety of issues. Many of you wanted to comment on our job creation efforts in the local area. I appreciate those kind words. We are always active on the economic development front whether you hear about the specifics or not. We also got more calls on the new waste receptacles in the Promenade. It seems that each time we have some sort of event in the neighborhood, folks call in and let us know how much they like what we have done with the Calhoun Street Promenade, and how it’s always well kept and tidy. While, as developer, I do have a bit to do with keeping things nice, it is our great group of merchants and residents that do the heavy lifting in the spiffiness area.

One of the new tenants in the Promenade is Bluffton Today, our local newspaper. Kathy Nelson is the new editor and a fine addition to the excellent staff. Kathy is an interesting newspaperwoman and the consummate journalism professional. Bluffton Today is located in the first building on the right as you enter the Promenade from the south. I urge you to come by during business hours, meet the new editor and maybe take her to lunch and demonstrate that great Bluffton hospitality.

We have obviously had some job creation success with bringing in new companies from outside the area. However, it should be noted that the expansion of current businesses is starting to have a very positive impact on job growth. Nowhere is this more pronounced than in the healthcare industry. Last week, we had a good meeting with the folks from Hilton Head Hospital and representatives from Candler St. Joseph Hospital, headquartered in Savannah, just across the river. The demographics of District 118, Greater Bluffton, and Beaufort County are such that the healthcare industry is bound to be a very large player in our local economy. In my view, it is important that my office act as something of a clearinghouse for accurate information that makes it easy for these businesses to locate here, or expand their current operations.

One of the features that businesses always want to know more about is our educational regime, from pre-kindergarten to baccalaureate level. They want to hear about not only a well-trained workforce, but also where the children of that workforce will go to school and what the offerings are. To be able to give a more comprehensive take on this topic, I am off to a school choice conference this week. The idea is to see how other communities have broken out of the one-size-fits-all mindset and improved educational outcomes by expanding the potential offerings on the menu. I’ll give you a report in the coming weeks.

Finally, we come to a good story of a young man who created his own job by doing what he is good at. Chris Shoemaker grew up on the May River and has become an expert waterman over the years. The son of Kathleen and Steven Shoemaker, Chris inherited great people skills and a love of the outdoors. Chris has opened a guide service to share his deep knowledge and understanding of the local estuarine environment. If you are new to the area, or just want to spend the day on our pristine river, give Chris a call. You won’t be disappointed.