Hilton Head Plantation officials consider $2M pool renovation

tbarton@islandpacket.comSeptember 14, 2013 

Spring Lake Pool inside Hilton Head Plantation might soon get a facelift.

Plantation officials released conceptual drawings last month for a $2.2-million renovation of the pool, built in the 1980s.

"The pool ... is a far cry from the pools that are being built today to accommodate a wide range of generations and functions," plantation general manager Peter Kristian said.

Proposed renovations include a shallow, sloped entry area for families, splash pad, lap lanes, a lazy river and access for the disabled, according to drawings from island architectural firm Wood and Partners Inc.

The concept also includes a boardwalk that would function as a fishing area, connecting the Spring Lake Pavilion with the leisure path that runs from Seabrook Drive to the Plantation House.

A task force, appointed by the plantation's board of directors to explore options for paying for the project, is expected to report to the board this week, Kristian said. The board prefers to finance the project without an increase in property owners' annual assessments, he added.To do that, the plantation would likely borrow from itself and pay the money back over time using revenue from a .25 percent charge added to each real estate transaction, Kristian said.

The fee is used to pay for improvements to roads and other infrastructure and to upgrade facilities. The plantation financed the new Spring Lake Pavilion similarly.

Board treasurer Tom Hoppin, who is leading the task force, declined to comment Friday.

Should the board decide to move forward with the renovations, plans would be presented at a meeting of property owners in October or November, Kristian said.

The project comes as other gated communities and island resorts, including Sea Pines, have poured tens of millions of dollars over the past two years into large-scale renovations.

"Renovations and redevelopment being done on the island has sparked a sense of optimism and rejuvenation that resonates with prospective buyers," said Realtor Andy Twisdale, a 25-year Hilton Head Plantation resident who welcomes the renovations.

"People who buy in a planned community, the amenities help establish a great deal of the value, and continued improvements helps to maintain or improve property values," Twisdale said.

Median home prices on Hilton Head had dropped since 2007 but have ticked upward in the past two months, according to the South Carolina Realtors trade association.

Inside Hilton Head Plantation, median sales prices increased more than 6 percent, from about $376,000 last July to $399,500 this July, Twisdale said.

Years ago, golf and tennis were king on Hilton Head. Now, more vacationers and residents are looking for other types of recreation and offerings, Kristian said.

"The board is keenly aware of what's going on around them and the offerings here and other parts of the country," he said. "We're constantly exposed to new communities coming up out of the ground that offer amenities such as this, and to stay competitive requires changes.

"We're not here to just spend money, but to make an investment in the community so the next generation of buyers are attracted to Hilton Head Plantation."

Follow reporter Tom Barton at twitter.com/IPBG_Tom.

Related content:

Sea Pines Beach Club opponents' appeal dismissed by Hilton Head board: July 23, 2013

$25M Sea Pines renovation plan includes replacement of Harbour Town clubhouse: March 18, 2013

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