Mayor’s memo: All eyes on Hardeeville in 2018
On Dec. 8, Hardeeville held its annual retreat to discuss the population projections for the next 10 years, review the resources and staffing needs to service that population, and to set long- and short-term goals for 2018 and beyond.
Michael Czymbor, Hardeeville City Manager, asked each property owner in the Planned Development Districts to project the amount of new home construction annually for the next 10 years. The cumulative number was staggering. The total was very optimistic. Is it possible? Surely. Is it probable? Maybe.
The number will be great. So let’s take a ride with the Ghost of Christmas Future and see who may be living in Hardeeville in 2028.
There are 12 Planned Development Districts in Hardeeville. Sun City and Latitude Margaritaville are age restricted and could bring close to 7,000 new seniors to the City. There has been much written about the 20-year plan for the East Argent Tract. Conservatively 4,000 homes may be completed in the next 10 years, resulting in 12,000 residents of all ages.
There is active building in Ardmore (off Argent Blvd.), Hilton Head Lakes (the north side of Hwy. 278) and University Park (near USCB). Those three may add another 1,000 homes or 3,000 residents.
Although there are other districts where residential construction could begin, a reasonable “guess” is 8,500 new homes and 22,000 new residents added to today’s population of almost 6,000; or 28,000 total.
Assuming this quadruple growth projection is probable, the City management team will continue to carefully and creatively plan for Police, Fire, Public Works, Building Inspection, and Planning. There will be added demands on our Recreation and Media Departments, and our Municipal Court; as well as other support staff in City Hall.
Great growth will add great responsibility to control flooding, protect our environment, preserve the purity of our waters and alleviate traffic congestion. The City is committed to work in harmony with Jasper County, Beaufort County, the Low Country Area Transportation Study (LATS) and the Southern Low Country Advisory Board (SoLoCo) to collectively discuss and prepare for the future.
Faced with this future of great change, the City Council discussed long and short range goals. Some of the items proposed for adoption are as follows:
• Create a Master Plan for the revitalization of Whyte Hardee Boulevard.
• Hire a deputy city manager with a strong background in economic development.
• Begin to execute the Exit 8 Master Plan.
• Renovate the old City Hall Building and the surrounding landscape.
• Create a “Veterans Memorial Park.”
• Devise and implement “traffic calming tactics” to improve safety along Argent Boulevard.
• Begin to implement the East Coast Greenway system of bike and pedestrian trail routes.
• Devise a city-wide Master Plan for storm water management.
• Decide on a location for the new Community Center and begin construction.
• Continue to devise outreach programs to engage citizens.
• Update and issue the City’s Comprehensive Plan.
• Continue to aggressively pursue economic development; especially commercial and light industrial.
In early 2018, the Council will review the list of goals and decide which, or all, of these goals will be adopted and set timetables for completion.
In March 2017, the City adopted as its moniker “Starship Hardeeville.”
It has since become the mantra that symbolizes the city’s resolve to aggressively pursue new opportunities and create a bold, new Hardeeville.
That Starship was a stealth vehicle; flying under the radar. That is no longer true.
The entire region is watching Hardeeville to see if the crew can successfully complete this mission. Captain Czymbor has assembled a first rate team over the past two years and the staff, with the support of City Council, is prepared to take this incredible journey.
On behalf of the City Council and the entire staff of Hardeeville: Merry Christmas. Happy Chanukah. Feliz Navidad. And a happy and prosperous 2018!
Harry Williams is the mayor of the city of Hardeeville.