Our hearts still ache over the recent tragedy in our sister city of Charleston, South Carolina.
So, in the midst of these troubled times, what should communities do to build and strengthen relationships? Several weeks ago, I was honored to be in attendance with my good friend, Alex Brown at a meeting where Grace Community Church of Hilton Head decided to partner with Central Oak Grove Baptist Church of Hilton Head, to begin building better bridges between the residents of our community.
Since then, and perhaps sensing an urgency to come together, many from our community have joined the effort, and the inaugural event will be held on July 4th, Independence Day from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.at Honey Horn titled “One Island – One Community”.
This inaugural picnic and fellowship event could not be more timely in the aftermath of the Charleston tragedy. It will be emceed by Lavon Stevens with plenty of music, food and children’s activities. It will be a wonderful opportunity to promote fellowship. I encourage all residents to attend to honor those who lost their lives in Charleston and support local efforts to increase understanding, build relationships and encourage unity.
Over the years Hilton Head Island has been given accolades for excellence by a wide range of publications and organizations… “Top 10 family vacation destinations”, best golf resorts, best tennis resorts, best public beaches are just some of the long list of “best lists” that immediately come to mind.
Cumulatively these awards have helped attract a broad variety of vacationers from around the world as well as retirees and new residents who are looking to enjoy a community that offers such a marvelous lifestyle.
Now we have a new distinction that those here at Town Hall feel very proud about – having Hilton Head Island selected a few weeks ago as a “Gold-Level Bicycle Friendly Community” by The League of American Bicyclists. It is a recognition our entire community should feel very good about — whether you are bicycle a rider or not. This is because bicycling is recognized internationally as a significant factor for improving a community’s environmental sustainability. Bicycling not only lowers the carbon footprint and improves air quality but also been shown to benefit public health and reduce childhood obesity.
Achieving Gold Status has put Hilton Head Island among the elite “Top 25” bicycling communities in America. It is the only such designated community in South Carolina and the Southeast. The recognition underscores more than just our island’s 60 miles of pathways, but also our Town’s commitment to improving conditions for bicycling through investment in bicycling promotion, education programs, infrastructure and pro-bicycling policies. We have enjoyed a wonderful public/private/organizational partnership between the Town, The Bicycle Advisory Committee, the Hilton Head Island-Bluffton Chamber of Commerce and several local cycling groups.