Build island economy on what we already have

info@islandpacket.comMay 27, 2013 

As the Town of Hilton Head Island embarks on yet another study on strategic planning and economic development, let us hope that the commission will keep in mind the old saying, "When looking for treasure, look in your own backyard."

Recently, the newspaper contained stories on three topics relating to tourism and the impact on our community. The first described the importance of the Baynard Mausoleum from a historical and archeological perspective. The second discussed implementing the plan for the Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor along the Southeast coast. And last but not least, were stories on the Lowcountry's own Candice Glover, who represents all that is good about her Gullah heritage.

In addition, I recently attended a presentation about the Mitchelville Project. Mitchelville was one of the first communities established during the Civil War for the sole purpose of giving former slaves an opportunity to govern themselves. The clear-cutting of trees for the potential expansion of the runway at Hilton Head Island Airport has allowed archeologists to uncover numerous artifacts from the Mitchelville community, including remnants of numerous dwellings. Do we really want to pave over what could be a potential major tourist attraction for the area? Because of its proximity to Mitchelville, a small area of the newly designed airport terminal could be dedicated to Mitchelville and the Gullah culture.

Tourism is the main economic industry on Hilton Head. Improve communication about what we already have in place; talk about it and they will come.

Mary E. Smetek

Hilton Head Island

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