In celebration of Beaufort's upcoming tricentennial, the Community Foundation of the Lowcountry is giving residents an opportunity to have a say in its future.
The organization is developing a Beaufort Fourth-Century Endowment Fund as a way to provide a permanent and ongoing source of funding for the community to carry out its "vision for its preferred future," said Denise Spencer, the organization's president and CEO.
Over 500 Beaufort residents were on hand Sunday at the University of South Carolina Beaufort Performing Arts Center for the announcement, which was part of an event to mark the city's 299th year of incorporation and kick off preparations for its tricentennial on Jan. 17, 2011.
The event, sponsored by the Beaufort Three-Century Project, which has been hosting programs since 2008 leading up to the city's 300th birthday, featured presentations on four projects completed under the Three-Century Beaufort banner, including a series of etchings by students from USCB's studio-art department depicting the city's history.
"The Community Foundation is honored to be a part of the 300th anniversary of Beaufort's charter and we have been impressed and proud of the many events and activities -- such as this one today -- that have been the hallmark of this project," Spencer said. "As we continue to build toward January 2011, it is important that planning for the next century of progress for the area be considered while the momentum is building."
The Beaufort Fourth Century advisory group will begin planning for the 400th celebration and establish funding sources for future events.
"The committee has been established not only to raise dollars for this effort, but also to develop a process for involving the community in determining their preferred future and priorities for moving the Beaufort area forward in a thoughtful and proactive way," Spencer said.
Mayor Billy Keyserling said he was pleased with the tricentennial project and hoped the new endowment would focus on the people that defined the city's first 300 years, and create a vision for the future.
"This has been totally volunteer driven," Keyserling said of the tricentennial efforts. "I believe we can extract from the past to create a better future. What I'd like to see emerge from this is a vision from people of what they would like to see in another 100 years."
ON THE WEB
To interact online and share comments, personal stories or input on the city's future, go to www.beaufortthreecentury.org, a Web site designed and hosted by The Beaufort Gazette.