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The Official Web Site of the State of South Carolina

Mayor's Greeting- August 2019

Fri, 08/09/2019

Mayor Pat O'Neil

Dear Island Neighbors,

Today we announce our new Town website, ask for your feedback on our Farmers’ Market, and explain what on earth was going on with that Middle Street project that caused the detour by Town Hall and the Post Office.

NEW TOWN WEBSITE!

If you haven’t been to our Town website in a couple of weeks, have we got a surprise for you!

First surprise: we’ve moved. But we did leave a forwarding address.

Our Town website has been completely revamped, starting with our new URL: https://sullivansisland.sc.gov . Please bookmark this on all your devices, and delete your bookmarks to the old place.

We did more than just repaint the walls in this project. The entire structure and organization of the website have been redesigned to create a much more usable and user-friendly means of connecting with your Town.

Please note that in the beginning of the previous paragraph, by “We”, I meant dedicated and extremely tech-savvy Town staff member Mary Poole. Mary stepped up from the very beginning to add this ambitious project to her already considerable portfolio of Town responsibilities, which includes processing our water and sewer bills and payments.

Mary committed to our overarching mission for the new website, and says: “The first thing you see at our new website are the words ‘Welcome to Sullivan’s Island’. When anyone visits the website, be they resident, visitor, business person or staff, we want them to feel welcomed to this special place that we are so lucky to call home. We want that welcome feeling to start with an easy, useful and productive interactive experience. And we are also trying to convey our special Island feel with photos of our Island’s natural beauty by former Town Councilmember Mark Howard and Bridget Welch of our Town Staff. ”

The new website is very clean and intuitive. You can report service issues, apply for business licenses and building permits, make payments, and find Town meetings and agendas, all from the comfort of your sofa at home, desk at work, table at your favorite coffee shop, or hotel room in Prague.

The website features an improved navigation bar anchored on every page, where you can browse all of the site’s contents with minimal mouse clicks. The navigation bar features 5 common areas of interest: Government, Departments, Community Connections, Residents, and Visitors.

Don’t forget to visit the Departments section. For each department page, the “Meet the Staff” link on the lower right of the page will take you to info and a pic for each great member of that department.

“Community Connections” offers a wealth of info on our numerous cultural, recreational, religious and educational resources. Check it out.

On the homepage, you will see the “How Do I” drop down menu that gets you answers to commonly asked questions in just one click. Additionally, the homepage hosts a calendar of all town events, meetings and important dates, even down to a recycling schedule.

As you know, any project like this is perennially growing, a work in progress. Click the “Contact” link at the bottom right of any page to submit feedback, suggestions, or report any website problems. Also, if inclined, to thank Mary!

TELL US WHAT YOU THINK ABOUT OUR FARMERS’ MARKET

Our Farmers’ Market concluded another successful season earlier this summer, its first season located at the Marshall Stith Park.  However, we are always looking for ways to improve it. What did you think about how it went this year? Please let us know, to help in planning subsequent markets. The Farmers’ Market survey can be found by clicking here.

DETOUR ON MIDDLE STREET

You no doubt noticed that we recently had to close off Middle Street at Station 20½ for a project that ran along the Station roughly from I’on to Central Avenue. A detour routed traffic to and from two blocks of I’on. If, like me, you live (or visit) west of that site, you “noticed” it several times a day, particularly on the weekends, and hopefully kept your comments out of earshot of the kids.

OK, believe it or not, there is a logical explanation for this inconvenience in the middle of summer.

The project was to replace a wastewater (i.e., sewer) main line that runs along Station 20 ½ back toward the wastewater treatment plant. This main receives wastewater from the properties that are on Middle on either side of the Station. The line needed replacement for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is that it was inadequate to serve several of those properties during heavy rain events. (This is just another example of numerous ongoing and future projects necessary to enhance our resilience to weather, climate and sea level changes.)

We had an opportunity to replace this main using a contractor who was already on the Island, which would save on costs, but had to get new approvals from permitting agencies, which precluded starting earlier than we did. We also held off a few days to avoid the Independence Day holiday. And we also wanted to avoid closing off Middle Street later, when school was in session at SIES. So there we were, stuck in late July and early August.

Why close off Middle Street entirely during this project? For starters, note that our sewer collection system relies on gravity to move things along. As they say, it rolls downhill. And when you don’t have hills, you have to be able to dig further down the further it needs to roll.

This project required installing a new sewer line across Middle Street, as much as nine feet down, without interrupting the service in the old line, and especially without damaging the WATER main that runs along and beneath Middle Street for its length from Fort Moultrie to Breach Inlet and that supplies all of our and much of IOP’s drinking water! Not to mention the stormwater mains and phone cables that also lie beneath Middle Street. And where the new sewer line crossed Middle Street, because of all the traffic above it, SC DOT said it had to be protected within a 20-inch steel casing that runs for 50 feet! Finally, when you go down that far anywhere on the Island, you hit water, so the entire trench had to be “de-watered” just like when a swimming pool is installed, with water pumped out and away through that large PVC pipe. That was going on 24/7 even when nothing else was happening.

So all that required an open dig to be sure the other utilities were protected, and precluded just boring it under the surface. And had we required the contractor to cover our dig with large steel plates to permit continued vehicle traffic over it, the price would have been much higher.

Thanks to all of you for your patience and understanding during this project.

See you around the Island!

Pat O’Neil
Mayor
(Cell) 843-670-9266
oneilp@sullivansisland-sc.com
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