Construction of Hilton Head rowing, sailing center to start next year
Hilton Head, SC, United States (4E Sports) – Instead of 2014, the construction of a rowing and sailing center along Skull Creek on Hilton Head Island will start earlier than scheduled after several cost-cutting measures.
Scott Liggett, town director of public project and facilities, said start of construction was moved early next year after plans were pared to make it cost-effective.
“As quickly as we can get through the design, bidding and permitting processes, that’s what we hope to build,” Liggett said. “We hope to have it open no later than a year from now.”
Included in the plan is a pier with floating dock, fenced boat storage for existing sailing and rowing programs, restrooms and a community pavilion off Squire Pope Road.
Liggett said more parking, storage and meeting and office space could be added later as private donations come in.
The project was first proposed as a public-private partnership but supporters failed to rise enough money to pay for the center. As result, the town will completely fund the project through tax increment financing revenue.
“The town will pay the total $760,000 budgeted to build the center, with the sailing and rowing groups providing boats and equipment,” Liggett said.
Liggett said the Island Recreation Association would operate and manage the center with help from rowing and sailing club members and coaches while the town will contribute $67,000 a year for operating costs.
According to Luther Strayer, a member of both the Carolina Sailing Center and the Palmetto Rowing Club of Hilton Head, supporters have purchased about $35,000 in rowing equipment and more to follow later.
John Rumsey, a member of the Carolina Sailing Center, said sailing advocates hope to raise about $50,000 to buy 10 two-person dinghies.
“We hope it will also be a tourist draw, getting people — particularly high school and college rowing and sailing groups — to participate in regattas on Hilton Head,” Rumsey said.
“Those who don’t sail or row can also fish or crab off the pier and use the pavilion to host parties, family outings and community events,” Liggett said.