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News Release

Hilton Head Island Town Council Appoints Native Islanders to U.S. 278 Gateway Corridor Committee

Release Date: February 21, 2019

Contact Information:
Carolyn Grant email icon , Communications Director, 843-341-4618

The Hilton Head Island Town Council voted Tuesday to appoint native Islander Sarah Stewart to its recently formed Hilton Head Island U.S. 278 Gateway Corridor Committee.

The advisory panel of 13 local citizens will work with the South Carolina Department of Transportation (SCDOT), which is planning roadway improvements along U.S. 278 from the intersection of Moss Creek Drive to the intersection of Spanish Wells Road. This will include the eastbound bridge crossing Mackay Creek to Hilton Head Island, which the SCDOT has deemed as structurally deficient, and the other three bridges crossing Mackay Creek and the Intracoastal Waterway.

Stewart's family lives and owns property in the Island's Stoney community, located along the stretch of U.S. 278 that may be impacted by the proposed project. She was born and raised in the Stoney community, where her mother still lives, and resides on Hilton Head Island. Stewart is a member of the Mt. Calvary Missionary Baptist Church and has a background in banking and customer service. She is currently employed with Palmetto Electric Cooperative.

In addition to Stewart, the Town Council named native Islander Palmer Simmons as an alternate committee member. He will permanently fill any seat that may become vacated by a current committee member.

Simmons' family also owns property along the corridor that may be impacted. Simmons, who lives on Hilton Head Island, is self-employed and has a background in communication, risk management, insurance and construction. He currently serves on the Town's Gullah Ogeechee Land and Cultural Preservation Task Force. He has a bachelor's degree from Florida State University.

According to its charter, the committee will work cooperatively with the SCDOT to gather information, obtain and provide citizen input into the environmental process, and make recommendations to Town Council regarding the U.S. 278 environmental assessment and design alternatives. The environmental assessment process is the first step in the project and will identify various alternative treatments for this crossing; evaluate the environmental, cultural and social impacts of each alternative; and develop a recommended alternative.

This committee is representative of families in the historic Stoney community, located along U.S. 278 in the proposed project zone, and area businesses along with individuals with vast experience in transportation, planning and design.

Previously appointed committee members include David C. Johnson Jr., Chairman, Frank Babel, Alexander Brown Jr., Tom Z. Crews, Jerry W. Cutrer, J. Craig Forest, Hannah Horne, David. T. Lunka, Thomas D. Peeples, Brendan Reilley, John Taylor and Kyle H. Theodore. Town Councilman Marc Grant serves as an ex-officio member of the committee.

The committee is scheduled to meet for the second time at 4 p.m. Thursday, February 21, in the Benjamin M. Racusin Council Chambers at Town Hall, One Town Center Court, Hilton Head Island. The public may sign up on the Town's website (hiltonheadislandsc.gov) to receive notices and updates about the committee's meetings and work.