(Editor’s Note: Mayor John McCann has given over his regular editorial space to Town Council member Thomas Lennox this month. This statement was first presented at Town Council’s annual workshop in January.)
I believe that the future of our community is not a fait accompli. As engaged elected officials, experienced staff and invested citizens, we have the ability to determine what will make us relevant in the future and to chart a course of action that gets us there.
I believe that realistically evaluating our community, as it is today, and measuring that against what we anticipate will be in front of us, is more important than it has ever been.
This is my seventh town planning session and I am increasingly confident in the belief that the role of our local government is three-fold.
First, it must protect and enhance our quality of life.
Second, it is the responsibility of a local government to create, or cause to be created, a social, political, and economic environment that stimulates the right kind of private investment.
And finally, as we all would expect, our local government should efficiently and effectively deliver the appropriate level of community services and facilities.
I also recognize that planning, in and of itself, doesn’t get it done. Any plan without the requisite implementation and execution is doomed at inception.
Accordingly, we are here today and tomorrow with an opportunity unlike any we’ve had before. We’re coming out of a recently completed Comprehensive Plan, a Gullah Geechee Land and Preservation plan, LMO Amendments on workforce and affordable housing, a Parks and Recreation master plan, a comprehensive Beach Parking plan, and the opportunity to build the largest project ever built by the Town and Beaufort County – the U.S. 278 corridor, all taking countless thousands of hours from the staff and from the community. And all of this will be a part of our planning under the leadership of a new town manager.
Think about being tasked with charting our future … with an engaged and committed staff, community, and council – a team I am proud to be a part of.
Helen Keller said that it’s important that team members don’t separate from the group and follow their own guidelines for what they think is best. Instead, they need to work towards the success of the team as a whole, by saying:
“Alone, we can do so little; together we can do so much.”
And this, I then believe that, as a team, we will build much more than affordable housing, more than a historic park; we’ll build more than a parking lot, and construct much more than a bridge.
Together we’ll build a community – and a place – that everyone wants to be a part of.
Thomas W. Lennox represents Ward 5 on the Hilton Head Town Council. He has served since 2014.