Hilton Head council lashes out at boating groups for failing to raise money

bheffernan@islandpacket.comJune 12, 2013 

Members of Hilton Head Island Town Council say they are fed up with rowing and sailing groups that have long requested a waterfront park to launch boats but haven't raised money for the project.

Council, however, gave tentative approval Tuesday to a budget that includes spending $950,000 to build the park off Squire Pope Road.

The groups, which include members of the Palmetto Rowing Club and Carolina Sailing Center, have failed to meet financial pledges to raise as much as $500,000 since 2007, yet they continue to demand design changes for the center, council members said Tuesday during budget discussions.

"As far as I'm concerned, their attitudes make me doubt that I want to go into business with them," said Councilman George Williams.

"As we get further along here, it's 'gimme, gimme, gimme,' not 'what can we do to make this happen.'"

Council members said Tuesday they are considering removing boating-specific features from the park and choosing a name for it that would not mention sailing and rowing.

If the project is approved, town manager Steve Riley said, the town would solicit bids for the park, which would include a boat storage area, community pavilion, playground, restrooms and a dock leading to Skull Creek that could be used for fishing, crabbing and launching boats.

After the bidding, when exact costs are known, council could consider which features it wanted to fund, Riley said. The fenced boat storage, estimated to cost about $60,000, is the only structure that exclusively serves boaters, according to Riley.

Check back with The Island Packet and Beaufort Gazette for updates, and follow reporter Brian Heffernan at twitter.com/IPBG_Brian.

Related content:

Rowing, sailing groups offer little money for boating center, unhappy with plans, June 11, 2013

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