HHI Planning Commission meets to discuss Coligny Beach area - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

HHI Planning Commission meets to discuss Coligny Beach area

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The Hilton Head Island Planning Commission is meeting to discuss possible new developments in the Coligny Beach area, specifically near the Coligny Plaza.

The Town Council was originally looking to put a new campus there for the University of South Carolina-Beaufort, but that is no longer on the table.

Neighbors were against the idea of a college in the area because they thought it would cause a traffic nightmare.

The Planning Commission held a public workshop on April 2, allowing residence and business owners to give their input on what they'd like to see built in the Coligny area.

Some of the ideas that came out of that meeting included a destination park and playground, children's museum, more parking, streetscape improvements and more lanes for bike riders.

Those are just a few of the more than 500 ideas people submitted. The Planning Commission is coming together on Wednesday to narrow those ideas down.

New additions to the Coligny Beach area could cost anywhere from $10-20 million dollars.

The good news is, taxes won't in increase. For the past 10 years, Hilton Head Island has been a part of the Tax Increment Finance district, also known as TIF, which has generated about $50 million for the town.

That will help them pay for the project, and all the tax payers in the area love that and some of the ideas that have been presented.

Coligny Beach is one of Hilton Head Island's main attractions.

When asked about the number of people that come out to Coligny, especially in the summer months, Hilton Head Island resident Rose Wickline said the number is huge.

"Oh my God, a million or more," she said. "A lot. I've never counted them."

Wickline has lived on the island and has worked at Black Market Minerals for 27 years. Black Market Minerals was one of the first shops here when Coligny Plaza first opened 15 years ago.

Since then, dozens of businesses have moved in.

The town is now looking at the possibility of adding a children's museum, a destination park and playground, or a theater for plays and concerts.  

"I think something like that would be great for Hilton Head," said resident Marvin Rivera. "There's a lot of families that come down, a lot of kids looking for more to do. The beach is wonderful, but something like that will be great."

Officials hope the project will entice more people to vacation on Hilton Head. Bill Stuhle said it would certainly convince him to come back for another visit.

"Without a doubt," he said. "One of the things we miss when we came down years ago was the water fun park. Our kids really loved it. I think it would be a great addition if they had something like that."

The commission said a popular option is the destination park and playground, but parking is the big one.

"The big issue that has come up big time is parking, and again from the inputs we've seen, to favor possibly a parking structure," said Planning Commission member Bryan Hughes.

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