By Mayor Billy Keyserling
Once the city made changes to provide a higher level of services at less cost, we began investing time and money in ensuring a more environmentally, culturally and fiscally sustainable Beaufort which we mandated through our comprehensive plan.
A first step was to reorganize the Redevelopment Commission by replacing all but one Beaufort City Council member with citizens who have strong backgrounds in redevelopment. The second step was to given them the tools and staff needed to plan for the future and even more importantly implement plans.
The Office of Civic Investment, under the Redevelopment Commission with a close eye on it by City Council, was created to conduct a block by block and neighborhood by neighborhood analysis of Beaufort today with conceptual plans for what it can be tomorrow through engaging and guiding private investment in the city.
They first divided the city into five sectors. Sector One is the greater downtown, spanning from Ribaut Road on the west to the Point neighborhood to the east and from Pigeon Point to north to the water from Waterfront Park to the south. In recent months, the draft of this plan was created and we are already seeing the private sector address opportunities which were identified in Sector One. If you are interested in previewing some of their work, go to www.cityofbeaufort.org, click on Redevelopment Commission, then click on Office of Civic Investment.
Sector Two, which spans from City Hall to the North along and west of Ribaut Road to Port Royal at the South, is currently being worked on.
Over the past few weeks, Office of Civic Investment staff has interviewed citizens, held focus groups (Riverview Charter School, Mossy Oaks Elementary School) met with property owners in the Depot area and with larger institutions including the Technical College of the Lowcountry and Beaufort Memorial Hospital.
Starting this week, they will take all they learned from these citizen-driven meetings and begin putting ideas to paper. The process is called a charrette which will take place at City Hall.
Please take a few minutes to seize on the opportunity to participate in this long-range planning process.
The net result of the Redevelopment Commission’s action plan will only be as good as the citizen input.
This is your hometown. Please work with us to make it more environmentally, culturally and fiscally sustainable so that we can leave the best possible Beaufort to those who follow us.