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Municipal Association of South Carolina honors Hilton Head Island with Achievement Award for Communications

Photo of MASC Achievement Award2017 - The Town of Hilton Head Island received a Municipal Achievement Award for its beach renourishment public information program. Officials accepted the award during the Municipal Association of South Carolina's Annual Meeting on July 22, 2017. The city won in the communications category. Thirty-two cities and towns submitted their projects and initiatives.

In June of 2016, the Town of Hilton Head was scheduled to embark on its third large-scale beach renourishment project, a project that recognized the town's beaches as a vital asset to residents and the economy. It was crucial to give residents, visitors, prospective visitors and businesses real-time information about what was happening where and for how long on Hilton Head's famous beaches. About 1,000 feet of beach access per day were restricted by operations.

Officials were keenly sensitive to how much the project, with its noise, pipes and equipment, could disrupt the public's enjoyment of the beach. For instance, Hilton Head officials knew they had to keep local restaurants in the loop, just as they had to update that bride in Ohio who was planning a beach wedding.

Teaming up with the Hilton Head Island-Bluffton Chamber of Commerce external link icon, the town met with representatives of hotels, resorts, home and villa rental companies, and affected property owner associations to present an overview. They formed a beach renourishment communications task force to develop a toolkit for local businesses that included talking points, FAQs, email confirmation verbiage, social media messages, newsletter/blog verbiage, a project timeline map, project brochure and video.

In 2016, the renourishment project section of the town's website drew 91,063 visitors accounting for nearly 127,000 page views. There were nearly 3,000 subscribers to the town's e-subscription "2016 Beach Renourishment Project" topic. By the end of the project, more than 11,500 "likes" to the town's Facebook page extended the social media reach of project notifications to nearly 200,000 people.

The town and its chamber partner produced a project video that was distributed to hotels and other stakeholders. Plus, they printed and distributed 30,000 brochures, which were passed out around the community.

"Town officials understood the importance of working in partnership with local businesses and residents to keep everyone informed about which areas of the beach would be impacted each day. Their efforts paid off as the project disrupted as little as possible," said Miriam Hair, executive director for the Municipal Association.

These winning entries represent innovative projects undertaken by Municipal Association member cities and towns. Information and a video about the project are available on the Association's website www.masc.sc (keyword: Achievement Awards).

The Municipal Association of South Carolina initiated the Achievement Awards in 1987 to recognize and encourage innovations and excellence in local government.

Learn more about the Town's Beach Renourishment Program