By Greg Hammond for The Island Eye News
With the upcoming election (note – I am not up for re-election), there will likely be a lot more discussion on Sullivan’s Island about our town and government than usual. I ran for council less than two years ago because I thought our island could do better by its residents on many fronts, including the upkeep and maintenance of town property. I asked to chair the Public Facilities committee in order to accomplish this.
We have made progress and still have a long way to go, but we are steadily checking off items on a list that was unfortunately allowed to become quite lengthy over a number of years.
• Fire Station: We began the process of a long needed fire station overhaul about 12 months ago. We are far along in the design stage and will be breaking ground mid to late spring with an estimated completion one year later.
• Maintenance Shed: Our town’s fleet of maintenance equipment currently sits out in the salt air and elements. We are in the process of building a maintenance shed to house this fleet, extending its useful life. Construction will occur in concert with the fire station.
• Town owned property review: We completed council’s first comprehensive review and cataloging of the condition of town owned property from a safety and maintenance perspective.
◦ Battery Thomson is receiving a facelift in the form of repainting and landscaping. Some discreetly placed fencing will be added for safety purposes.
◦ Battery Logan will benefit from discreet fencing for safety purposes
◦ Two historic shallow well structures located on Jasper will benefit from mothballing and roof replacement for future preservation
◦ Council will be considering the sale of the old Town Hall site once the maintenance shed is completed
◦ The cement structure on the back side of the mound will be sealed and mothballed
• Stormwater: We have embarked on our town’s first comprehensive stormwater study by filing for a FEMA BRIC (building resilient infrastructure communities) grant towards a full assessment of the island’s stormwater infrastructure and prioritization for repair.
• Boardwalks: committee has cataloged the state of our island’s beach boardwalks and has prioritized for repair. Station 18 replacement and Station 27 extension to the street are in process, with Station 26.5 up next for a full overhaul.
• Crosswalk at Station 22.5 and Jasper: Public Facilities and Public Safety worked together to re-orient storm drainage allowing for a crosswalk at Station 22.5 and Jasper. This has been completed and was the last crosswalk needed in a network that safely connects the northeast quadrant to the rest of the island.
• Smoking on the Beach: Public Facilities committee led the effort to ban smoking on the beach, which was officially adopted over a year ago.
It has been a busy 18 months, and our town staff and my fellow council members have done an excellent job in making progress on all fronts. I’ve come to realize that government work, by design, is not quite as quick as work in the private sector. There are purchasing ordinances and bid processes in place that make things take a little longer (not to mention a spiderweb of state and federal regulations), but the slower pace is a small price to ensure our citizens and residents feel comfortable that taxpayer dollars are being used fairly and properly. Next on the docket for Public Facilities will be formalizing the town’s approach to litter removal as well as continuing work on possible power line burial. I look forward to working with Recreation and Public Safety committees, which are in process on addressing recent park flooding issues, road shoulder repair, and a revitalization of our downtown.