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Lolita Huckaby

Lowcountry Lowdown, June 23

County Council gets look at BHS access road alternatives

By Lolita Huckaby

LADY’S ISLAND

Beaufort County Council members are preparing for a debate on the proposed $700 million transportation sales tax referendum in November even as they’re still deciding on how to spend dollars raised by a 2018 sales tax referendum

On Monday, council members got a peek at the most recent design alternatives for realignment of the Beaufort High School access road, a major element of the Lady’s Island Corridor improvement plan with hundreds of vehicles using the access road every school day.

The county engineering staff, working with consultants, have come up with five alternatives but are promoting one which includes a roundabout on Meridian Road and a new stoplight at S.C. 802 and Hazel Farm/Gay roads.

The proposals are considered an improvement over the original plan which showed a stop light at the Sunset Boulevard and a new connector from the BHS campus through a neighboring shopping center.

The more recent alternatives show bus and school traffic existing on correcting roadways away from the Sea Island Parkway.

The parkway improvement plan, which includes parts of Lady’s Island Drive and Sea Island Parkway out to the Coosaw Bridge, has been in the works since 2017 with public hearings held in January 2020 when three options were on the table and again, virtually, in January-February 2021.

Now, with five alternatives on the table, including two that would impact the popular Crystal Lake Park, Councilmembers Alice Howard and York Glover have insisted the county get more public input before moving forward with the project.

If you’d like to see those recommendations, go to file:///C:/Users/bftba/Downloads/AgendaPacket-Public%20Facilities%20Committee-June%2020,%202022%203.00%20PM.pdf, pages 102-116.

Or just go to Beaufort County SC webpage, County Council agendas, Public Facilities Committee, June 20 meeting, pages 102-116.

It’s worth a “look see.” And then share your opinions with county.

Okay, primaries aren’t quite over

BEAUFORT – The political roadside signs are removed, the postcards have stopped coming but wait… the 2022 primaries aren’t quite over.

There’s still a runoff election Tuesday – the Republican ballot has two candidates running for nomination for S.C. Superintendent of Education and the Democratic ballot, two candidates running for the U.S. Senate nomination.

Ah, will it never end?

Of course it will, in November, after MUCH more campaign advertising and maybe even some mud-slinging? There wasn’t much of that in the local primary elections.

Candidates didn’t debate, even for the sheriff’s race where the two Republican candidates primarily used social media to take verbal jabs at one another.

Local newspapers printed candidates’ answers to prepared questionnaires but again, social media was where a lot of folks got information about their candidates, for better or worse.

The “worse” being, only 21 percent of Beaufort County’s registered voters bothered to cast ballots, even though early voting was easier than ever. The numbers that did show up were attributed to the sheriff’s race which – in case you were on vacation and missed it – was won handily by incumbent P.J. Tanner.

And then there was the “worse,” with local election results not showing up until after midnight. As veterans of Beaufort County’s political pollwatching know, getting results has always been an issue in this part of the Lowcountry. Even with the invention and implementation of computers, we seem to be the last to get our counts reported.

Even the wonderfully observant Island Packet columnist David Lauderdale, who’s been around these polling places for a while, called the traditional election night events “slumber parties.” And he’s not far from wrong unless you’re a candidate or reporter on deadline.

To drag out the drama of primary politics this time, our local state legislative delegation responding to “concerns” from an unknown number of voters, got the state Elections Commission Director to call for a re-tabulation of all 31,000 votes cast, not just the Republican ballots, which were the majority and apparently where the “concerns” were stemming, but all of them… hand-counted.

And the outcome, last Friday afternoon, was 100 percent accuracy with the count produced by the ballot machines Tuesday night.

The questioning of ballot resulting in a re-tabulation being ordered – the only one in the state – unfortunately, raised even more questions, for some, about the “integrity” of the voting process.

Add to that, a presentation one week before the primary vote, of a list of 100 names a trio of women ascribing to the philosophies of the national Audit the Vote campaign, challenged individuals they contended did not meet the residency criteria for registered voters.

Certainly makes you wonder if this is a preview of coming attractions when it comes to participating in democracy.

Got some downtown flooding pictures?

BEAUFORT – As part of the city’s plans for a major stormwater drainage improvement project for the Downtown and Point neighborhoods, planners are looking for photos documenting former flooding.

Anyone who’s been here for a while can remember some pretty impressive flooding scenes in those areas.

If you’ve got some photos you’d be willing to share with the city, for grant-writing purposes, contact Neal Pugliese at npugliese@cityofbeaufort.org.


Lolita Huckaby Watson is a community volunteer and former reporter/editorial assistant/columnist with The Beaufort Gazette, The Savannah Morning News, Bluffton Today, Beaufort Today and The Robesonian (Lumberton, N.C.). She can be reached at bftbay@gmail.com.

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