The Town of Hilton Head Island will create a nonprofit, economic-development corporation that will try to attract businesses to the island and keep the ones it has.
A motion to form the nonprofit corporation won unanimous support Tuesday from Town Council.
The organization will seek to recruit and retain businesses by working with organizations like as the S.C. Department of Commerce, Lowcountry Economic Alliance and the Hilton Head Island-Bluffton Chamber of Commerce.
It also is expected to be a primary contact and deal-closer for development projects.
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The current redevelopment of The Mall at Shelter Cove -- which will include a town-owned waterfront park along Broad Creek -- is an example of the type of public-private partnership the corporation could organize, said Shawn Colin, the town's deputy director of community development.
The group would help broaden the island's economy, making it more stable and less dependent upon seasonal tourism, according to Jim Gant, chairman of the town's Economic Development Advisory Committee.
"When you're heavily dependent on a single industry, anything that affects that industry can affect your entire town," Gant said, adding health care and software-development companies are among the sorts the advisory committee has shown interest in attracting.
The nonprofit corporation would be led by a full-time executive director, to be hired by Town Council. The town has budgeted a salary of $80,000. The corporation would have a board of directors and be accountable to Town Council.
Tuesday's approval was the first of a four-phase process to create the nonprofit organization. The town hopes to complete the next phase of selecting the organization's board of directors by May 1. Applications for board positions will be posted within weeks on the town's website, Colin said.
The town will consider candidates from a variety of business backgrounds, including real estate, finance, development, utilities and higher education. Town Council will likely appoint between five and nine board members, according to Colin.
Hiring a director and creating a budget will be the final step, which the town hopes to complete by Sept. 15.