Politics & Government

Group to study need for Hilton Head arts campus

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A committee will soon be formed to study the need for a proposed arts and cultural campus or other potential arts venues on Hilton Head Island.

Town Council unanimously approved forming the Venue Committee on Tuesday that would have nine to 12 members and be made up of representatives from various arts, cultural and historical groups and real estate, financial and hospitality industries, among others.

Members should be “familiar with the future wave of arts and culture as desired by the younger generations,” according to a town memo.

The committee would recommend the types of venues and programs needed for the arts, as well as determine the costs and to what extent town government and other entities should finance it, the memo says.

The council has put a new $30 million arts campus at the top of its list of projects for a proposed 1 percent sales tax being considered by Beaufort County Council to go before voters in November. Town Council members said the new committee will have to work quickly, with the sales-tax proposal possibly making the ballot this year. The task might require hiring a consultant, they said.

Council also discussed spending $35,000 on a study to determine what effect arts, cultural and historical programs have on Hilton Head home values, but tabled the matter due to confusion over what the study would actually measure.

The proposal indicated that the study, to be done by researchers at the University of South Carolina Beaufort and Clemson University, would estimate how an arts campus would effect residential property values. But during questioning it was learned that the study could only look at the effect of the arts on current property values and couldn’t make forecasts. Council members also became concerned over the accuracy of trying to determine the current values with the proposed study method.

Council voted unanimously to send the study proposal back to committee for further discussion.

Don McLoud: 843-706-8139, @IPBG_Don

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