May 2019

A Note From Our Mayors

Author: John McCann, Lisa Sulka | Photographer: M.Kat Photography

A Note from John McCann
Batter up for Parks and Recreation Planning

Most of you who know me know of my lifelong passion for our country’s “national pastime” and of my diehard support for the New York Yankees. While their season may not have gotten off to the best of starts, the commencement of their opening day several weeks ago always represents a very exciting time for me. Not only is this time of year exciting because the Major League is back at play, it is also the time of year that we have some of the best weather on the Island. Many people actively enjoy our pathways, parks, and beaches at this time of year. This time of year is also special because it’s the season that Island youngsters take to the diamonds and play baseball.

The Hilton Head Island baseball program is open to all boys and girls ages five to 13 who will play weekly games at Crossings Park. This excellent program organized by the Hilton Head Baseball Association via an agreement with the Island Rec Center is dedicated to creating a fun and safe environment for young athletes so they can learn fundamentals of the game and improve their baseball and life skills for success on and off the field. Several weeks ago, Town Manager Steve Riley and I had the pleasure of throwing out the first pitch at the association’s opening day of the spring 2019 season. This exciting event highlighted how important recreational opportunities are in achieving the high quality of life that all Island residents enjoy. It also emphasized how we need to continue examining the ways in which we can enhance these recreational opportunities into the future.

Recreation will be a major part of the Town’s Comprehensive Plan, which we are preparing to update. In doing so, we will be undertaking an extensive study of our parks and recreational amenities. This will ultimately result in a master plan of what facilities, programs and services we should be providing to meet the needs of our community for the next ten years. I would encourage any resident who is interested in recreational opportunities to come out and participate during the public engagement portions of this process. Doing so will help to ensure that your voices and the voices of our Island youth are heard and incorporated into this plan.
Now, let’s get outside and play ball!
______________________

A Note from Lisa Sulka
Why the Heritage Matters to Bluffton

This time of year is the start to many of our festivals and events. The RBC Heritage presented by Boeing, held in April, seems to be the beginning of this exciting time. Always the week after the Masters Tournament, the many volunteers and staff of the Heritage Foundation work tirelessly year-round to provide an amazing weeklong tournament on Hilton Head Island. So, I am sure you are asking, “Why should Bluffton care when the event is held on the island?”

Did you know that more than one third of the volunteers come from Bluffton; that the scholarships presented to graduating seniors include Bluffton students; that many nonprofits that benefit from this tournament are based in Bluffton; that both high schools are involved in volunteering, and, in return, the foundation makes a donation to each; that ticket sales in Bluffton continue to rise?

On top of this, our businesses see an increase during the week of the tournament, as a high number of visitors have found Bluffton and come across the bridge or river to shop, dine, tour our historic treasures, or just sit in one of our many parks and enjoy the scenery. So, you can now see why we are all excited that this incredible annual tournament takes place minutes from Bluffton.

If you watched this tournament on TV, or if you were there witnessing the incredible talented professionals, please remember that while a trophy and a winning check were presented, the real winners are the many people and nonprofits who are helped as a result of the success of the Heritage Foundation’s giving programs: the Heritage Champions Fore Charity, Birdies for Charity, and our South Carolina License Plate Program. Since 1987, $41 million has been distributed to people in need, including hundreds of outstanding students through our Heritage Scholars program.

This is a tournament that will continue to improve the lives of our residents and enhance our business and nonprofit communities, so I urge you to support these efforts. If you are looking for a way to help the tournament in the future, visit the website and see how you can plug in, perhaps volunteer, or see if any of the nonprofits in our town are areas where you can give back. The website is www.heritageclassicfoundation.com, and you can find them on social media sites as well.

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