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Press Release

Town of Hilton Head Island Selected as finalist in the "Red Fields to Green Fields" National Research Project

Release Date: May 27, 2010

Contact Information:
Shawn Colin , Senior Planner, (843)341-4696

The Town of Hilton Head Island has been selected as a finalist in the Round Two Research Phase of the "Red Fields to Green Fields America" project that could result in a plan to address potentially troubled commercial real estate assets within the Town.

The project includes developing local partnerships, which to date include:

  • Community Foundation of the Lowcountry
  • Lowcountry and Resort Islands Tourism Institute, University of South Carolina - Beaufort
  • Island Recreation Association
  • Lowcountry Economic Network
  • Two local developers.

"Red Fields to Green Fields America" is a public/private enterprise that is geared toward achieving a range of social and economic objectives by:

  • Acquiring financially distressed real estate (i.e., properties "in the red") and
  • Converting those assets into public parks (i.e., "green fields") adjacent to land retained for future sustainable development.

"Red Fields to Green Fields America" seeks to convert vacant and financially distressed commercial property into parks by researching the catalytic effect that parks can have in improving the economy, environment and health of a town through creation of liveable and walkable communities.

Public-private partnerships would buy distressed properties and, in many cases, demolish buildings. Part of the land would be turned into a park, while the remainder could be redeveloped later to help pay off the project's debt and create jobs. Potential federal funding, matched by local public and philanthropic investment, to support park projects is currently under consideration.

City Parks Alliance is working with Georgia Tech Research Institute to assess an initiative in six cities: Atlanta, Cleveland, Denver, Miami, Philadelphia and Wilmington, DE. That analysis will be released in late spring 2010.

A second round of studies, including Hilton Head Island, Houston, Phoenix, Detroit and Los Angeles, could be released in late 2010.