Native islander Charles Houston hopes to bridge a divide in island politics between Hilton Head Island's gated communities and less-affluent black voters.
Houston, 71, a Hilton Head attorney and son of the late Rev. Charles Houston -- an island pastor and civic leader -- filed Tuesday to run in the Nov. 6 general election representing Ward 1 on Town Council.
He faces incumbent council member Bill Ferguson, 64, and fellow native islander Marc Grant, 42, owner of Grant's Mini Mart on Hilton Head.
For decades the area stood in "dire contrast to the upscale affluence and opulence of the tourists and retirement communities" on Hilton Head, Houston said Tuesday. That bred native islander mistrust and antagonism toward town government, Houston said. Native islanders felt the gated communities had marginalized their interests, especially when it came to zoning and land-use issues and access to central water and sewer, he said.
Though many of those issues have been resolved, work remains to be done and new leadership is needed to help Ward 1 "transcend and progress" from "being separate and antagonistic towards the larger island community," Houston said.
DO YOU AGREE WITH HOUSTON? IS THERE A DIVIDE BETWEEN WARD 1 AND THE REST OF THE ISLAND? HAVE NATIVE ISLANDERS' INTERESTS BEEN MARGINALIZED BY GATED COMMUNITIES?
IS BETTER COOPERATION AND REPRESENTATION NEEDED ON TOWN COUNCIL FOR WARD 1 TO "TRANSCEND AND PROGRESS" FROM "BEING SEPARATE AND ANTAGONISTIC TOWARDS THE LARGER ISLAND COMMUNITY?
AND WHO'S BEST SUITED TO PROVIDE THAT LEADERSHIP? HOUSTON? MARC GRANT? BILL FERGUSON?
Plans for a new beach park on Hilton Head Island are being opposed by some nearby residents and an island environmentalist, who argue the area is not suitable for building.
Town Council last week approved a revised plan for a mile-and-a-half-long linear park connecting Shelter Cove to the beach. Anew trail, boardwalks and crosswalks would connect a string of town-owned green space beside Shelter Cove Community Park with nearby recreation fields and Collier Beach.
But the shoreline where the beach park would be built is prone to erosion, according to a 2008 engineering report.
A groin at The Folly -- a creek that cuts across the beach between Singleton Beach Road and Burkes Beach Road -- has helped stabilize the shoreline south of there, but it won't provide long-term erosion protection unless the beach is renourished, the report says.
That makes it ill-suited for the beach park, according to naturalist Todd Ballantine of Ballantine Environmental Resources, who also says powerful inlet currents and rip tides make the beach unsafe for swimming and wading.
"All of us would like to see The Folly as an eco-tourism destination," said Terry Herron, who lives off Singleton Beach Road. "But we don't think it's a buildable area and will double traffic through the neighborhood. ... We welcome people to the beach, but let's get them there safely and minimize impacts to The Folly inlet."
WHAT DO YOU THINK? IS THIS NEEDLESS SPENDING? DOES THE TOWN NEED ANOTHER BEACH PARK? IS THIS ANOTHER CASE OF 'NOT IN MY BACK YARD?
The Town of Hilton Head Island is considering donating land where a miniature golf course now stands and paying several million dollars toward a new building for the University of South Carolina Beaufort in hopes of revitalizing the Coligny area.
The land that would be donated for the USCB facility is between Nassau Street and the entrance to the town's beach parking lot off Coligny Circle -- which includes the current home of Legendary Golf.
The town also would use public money and proceeds from bonds to help pay for the facility, which would require a large private fundraising campaign by USCB, according to preliminary details released Friday by town and university officials.
Nothing, however, has been finalized in the town's new plan for sprucing up the Coligny area.
WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THE PLAN?
WILL THIS CLOSE A SUCCESSFUL BUSINESS THAT FITS WITH THE RECREATION ASPECTS OF COLIGNY IN ORDER TO BUILD A SMALL OFFSHOOT OF A COLLEGE THAT ALREADY HAS PLENTY OF CAMPUSES IN THE COUNTY?