HILTON HEAD ISLAND, SOUTH CAROLINA – The Town of Hilton Head Island has earned the Sustainable Planning Award from Audubon International. The award is an important milestone in Audubon International’s Sustainable Communities Program and recognizes the community for completing the second stage of a rigorous three-stage certification process. Hilton Head’s successful completion of this stage means they have defined and adopted a long-term community vision and sustainability indicators.
“For many years Hilton Head Island has been known for its great natural beauty and for innovative, environmentally sensitive practices,” notes Mayor David Bennett. “The Town of Hilton Head Island was eager to conduct a sustainability self-assessment using a nationally recognized program such as Audubon International’s Sustainable Communities Program. This accomplishment enables the Town to build upon its long-term history of sustainability while moving forward into Stage 3 where it will implement the plans listed in the Hilton Head Island Green Blueprint. The Town of Hilton Head Island is pleased to receive the Sustainable Planning Award and the recognition it conveys.”
Since joining the program five years ago, Hilton Head has brought together the efforts of residents, local and regional organizations, schools, businesses and community leaders. These partners have addressed priority projects under 15 focus areas such as health and transportation. Within each focus area, goals such as enhancing bike travel and controlling storm water runoff have yielded action items that are being implemented by the Town.
Completed projects include:
- Mobile educational kiosk with information about the Broad River watershed and storm water management practices
- Energy audit and energy efficient upgrades for Town Hall
- Rewrite of the Land Management Ordinance to achieve sustainable development goals
- Design of Chaplin Linear Park, which will improve connectivity and recreation opportunities
- Improved wayfinding maps and signs for 100 miles of bike paths in the community
- Increased access for non-motorized water-based recreation through park enhancements
- LEED-Silver Certified Fire Station constructed with pervious paving, construction waste recycled, and underground rainwater harvesting system
“The award demonstrates the commitment by the Town and the strides they have taken toward creating a more sustainable community. Hilton Head is continuing its legacy of living in harmony with nature by prioritizing community challenges, drawing on community assets, and compiling a strategic sustainability plan with reachable goals that will have a real and positive effect on the community and its residents,” says Joanna Nadeau. “Finishing Stage 2 of this program is a significant accomplishment. Hilton Head is rightfully proud of earning this well-deserved award.”
Hilton Head will now move forward into Stage 3 of the Sustainable Communities Program, during which the community will implement additional projects listed in the action plan and report progress to achieve the designation as an Audubon International Certified Sustainable Community.
About Hilton Head
The Town of Hilton Head Island, incorporated as a municipality in 1983 and well known for its eco-friendly development and beautiful outdoor amenities, is located on a barrier island off the coast of South Carolina. The island encompasses 54 square miles and includes 13 miles of beaches. The Town of Hilton Head Island is comprised of a diverse and active collection of residents who come together as one community. Hilton Head Island not only has a large permanent population (38,000) but also enjoys an assortment of visitors and tourists each year that increases the population during summer months upwards of 80,000.