HILTON HEAD ISLAND, SC (WTOC) - Hilton Head Town Council voted unanimously to approve the first reading of a lease agreement between town property and the Mitchelville Preservation Project.
The organization has been using the land at the Fish Hall Creek Park for quite some time now, but this formal agreement will help propel the initiative forward. We found out what this project means to the island and how this agreement will help bring it's mission to fruition.
Mitchelville is the first settlement of freed slaves in the United States, and now those dedicated to preserving its history are one step closer to a permanent setting to tell the stories of those early settlers. A few years ago, members of the Mitchellville Project asked town council to look at more long-term leasing options for the organization that was looking to expand its efforts. That meant turning the town park into a cultural and historical museum and preserving the site as a heritage and education destination for residents and visitors. Now that council has passed the first reading, this agreement will allow the project a few years to develop a concrete master plan and business plan for improvements and recommendations.
"For us, cultural tourism is huge in general, and the fact that we have this as an asset that no other community has in the country, I think is what makes it paramount; one for us to really to be proud of, but also for us to share with the country," said Mayor Pro-Tem, Kim Likins, Town of Hilton Head.
Under the lease, the town will still maintain the property, and the project will be able to use the space for two years with the option to renew.
Town council will now have one more vote before that lease agreement goes into effect.