Mayor's Message - May 4, 2023
May 4, 2023
Hello. The busy tourist season is upon us! Like last year, staff and I have hosted and attended meetings with key personnel from surrounding municipalities and other support agencies to continue planning and preparing for the season to ensure the right resources are in place to help us mitigate the impact of increased beach traffic in our community. I am hopeful this proactive planning will yield even better results than last year.
After the unfortunate event on our island on April 7, our staff and Public Safety team held multiple after-action review meetings to prepare recommendations to City Council for any equipment, technology or staffing they felt were needed. These recommendations included adding an ordinance to require a permit for large gatherings on public property, including the beach and beach access paths, add a Canine Unit to enhance efforts in crime prevention, detection, apprehension, officer safety and community service, add security cameras along beach access paths in the commercial district and Sea Cabins pier, purchase a prisoner transport vehicle. These were presented and approved at our April City Council meeting and will be further discussed by our Public Safety Committee. We will continue to have these discussions and ensure there are tangible, actionable items we can implement and make certain we are fully supporting our Public Safety team. Also, Our City Administrator and I have had productive discussions at a County Council level about additional public safety support during our busy season and these will continue. I can’t say enough about how impressed I am with our Police Department’s preparation and handling of the April 7 events and how grateful I am for the IOP business and community support during and after these events. IOP showed its true colors and I’m proud!
A few quick updates on other initiatives and projects:
- Marina – If you’ve been by to check it out, you know great things are happening at the marina site! The store at the Isle of Palms Marina has been undergoing extensive renovations and the parking lot is being reconfigured and paved with pervious asphalt. The tenant plans to open the store by early to mid-June. The 6-foot boardwalk along the Intracoastal Waterway is completed and looks great! Be sure to check it out and the public dock available for kayak and stand-up paddle board launching.
- IOP Connector –At its April meeting, City Council voted to request SCDOT to implement changes to the IOP Connector bridge to include a 10’ multi-use path for bicycle and pedestrians and for vehicular traffic - one southbound lane and two northbound lanes towards Mount Pleasant. The Town of Mount Pleasant will make their own lane configuration recommendation soon. Then, SCDOT will complete the necessary design and engineering work at both intersections (Palm Boulevard and Rifle Range Road), identify whether additional right-of-way is necessary, develop construction plans, cost estimates and a construction timeline.
- Palm Blvd. – at our April City Council meeting, SCDOT also provided a quick update on their consultant’s progress in developing conceptual drawings of potential improvements to Palm Boulevard if we utilize the entire right of way to accommodate parking and dedicated pedestrian, bicycle and golf carts lanes. They plan to come back and present those alternatives in the next few months.
- Tourism Management Plan – in collaboration with Explore Charleston, the College of Charleston, and the McNair Group, the City will begin working on a comprehensive effort to develop a plan with actionable strategies and recommendations that focus on preserving and enhancing our community’s quality of life amid a vibrant tourism and hospitality industry. This plan will include strong community input and data that will guide the City how to productively deal with the complexities and challenges of regional population growth so that the Isle of Palms continues to be the most sustainable, family-friendly beach community in South Carolina. Much like the City’s overall Strategic Plan, this plan will help drive our initiatives towards tourism and tourism management.
- Walkability study – also in collaboration with Explore Charleston, the City will engage a firm to perform a walkability study and present recommendations to improve the City’s pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure to enhance mobility and connectivity to commercial and public spaces on our island.
- Drainage – our 30th Avenue project is done. The 36th Avenue project, which will also require a road closure and detour for several weeks, is scheduled to start in September after our busy beach season.
There are lots of great community events coming up which I’ve shared below, but in addition, the Recreation Department is offering exciting new programs for folks to enjoy. The Department will host free yoga classes on the beach at 25th Avenue on Tuesdays at 7:30 a.m. and on Thursdays at 7:30 a.m. join them for a Serenity Sea Stroll and Stretch class. Additionally, free Meditation classes at the Public dock at the Marina are back on Wednesdays at 8:00 a.m. There are many new opportunities for you to meet up with friends and neighbors and focus on your health and mental wellbeing.
- May 6 – Music in the Park at the Rec Center, 3:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
- May 9 – Shred Day at the Municipal parking lot at Front Beach, 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
- May 16 – Hurricane Preparedness Expo at the Rec Center, 4:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
- May 20 – Bike Rodeo at the Rec Center at 10:00 a.m.
- May 26 – Coffee with the Mayor at the Rec Center, 9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.
- June 3 – Sand Sculpting Contest at Front Beach at 9:00 a.m.
- June 15 – Farmers Market at the Rec Center starts again every 3rd Thursday of the Month through October from 4:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Any updates for these and other events can be found at iop.net.
Thank you for the opportunity to serve! See you around the island.
Phillip Pounds, Mayor IOP