Hilton Head Island Mayor Drew Laughlin says plans to establish a presence for the University of South Carolina Beaufort's hospitality programs in the Coligny district, "has potential to enrich the quality of life on our island and produce a real return on our investment."
In his latest "Mayor's Monthly Article" published in Celebrate Hilton Head (CH2) magazine, Laughlin says a recent economic feasibility study by a town-hired consultant shows there is little reason for the town to subsidize redevelopment of "viable existing commercial enterprise," within Coligny.
Redeveloping the Coligny area has long been a priority for the town, which faces a December 2014 deadline to commit an estimated $13 million to public works projects. About $6.4 million of the money, captured from a tax-increment finance district, has been set aside for projects in Coligny.Read more here.
Spending town money to entice Coligny area businesses to redevelop their properties, though, won't bring in enough tax revenue to offset the costs, a consultant told the Hilton Head Island Town Council in July. Such spending, however, could yield millions of dollars in private development.Read more here.
Instead, council endorsed plans that focuses on improved parking and creating green/open space on town-owned property, upgrading adjacent streets, and establishing a presence for USCB's hospitality programs on the island. All of which Laughlin believes will serve as a foundation for further improvements to the area.
"Other opportunities to work with surrounding property owners may develop in the future," he writes. "The concept does not preclude them but would rather serve as a foundation to get improvements started in this area."