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IFA Redfish Tour, Kayak Tour to stop in Georgetown Sept. 23-24
Sept. 12, 2017

One lucky Georgetown County resident could take home a brand new boat on Sept. 23, when the IFA Redfish Tour returns to the Carroll Ashmore Campbell Marine Complex.

The boat will be the grand prize for the tournament and, with no qualifying event to enter, it could go home with anyone, said County Administrator Sel Hemingway. 

“All you need is a boat, a partner and a little bit of luck,” he said. One really good fish could be enough to make the difference and take home the prize.

Georgetown County has hosted spring and/or fall tournaments for the Inshore Fishing Association annually since 2014. Hemingway’s goal is to have 100 boats registered this year, and he’d like to see a lot of local faces in the crowd, he said.

Boat launch for the Redfish Tour is at dawn Sept. 23. The public is welcome to watch and is invited to come back that afternoon for weigh-in. The IFA Kayak Tour will take place the following day, with a kayak being offered as the grand prize. The weigh-in location for that event is to be announced at a later date.

For those interested in participating, a $30 membership to the Inshore Fishing Association is needed to sign up, and can be purchased at registration Sept. 22 at the Campbell Marine Complex from 5-7 p.m. A captains dinner will also take place there that evening. Entry fee is $250 per team for the Redfish Tour.  Kayak tournament registration is $50.

Get a registration form at www.ifatours.com. The marine complex is located at 101 River Walk Dr., Georgetown.

 

Is your family ready for Hurricane Season?
Sept.10, 2017

Residents of the South Carolina coast got a small taste this month of what they can expect if a major hurricane heads our way. As Hurricane Irma appeared to be on a track directly for the Palmetto State, grocery store shelves were empty, generators were in short supply, and gas stations from the coast to the Midlands started experiencing shortages.

We all breathed a huge sigh of relief when the powerful storm shifted away from us. While it was hard to feel good knowing our fortune could mean devastation for people in Florida, folks here started taking down their hurricane shutters and went back about their daily lives.

Georgetown County saw only tropical storm force impacts from Hurricane Irma, but even those caused significant flooding in coastal and low-lying areas, destroyed beach accesses and wiped out dunes on sections of  beachfront that had only recently been restored following Hurricane Matthew.

“Even without having completed damage assessment, we know this storm caused significant damage,” said Sam Hodge, Georgetown County Emergency Manager. “If this storm had hit Georgetown County as a Category 3 or 4,  the impacts would have been devastating.”

Hodge said he hopes  residents will think about that and that it might encourage more people to prepare and heed any evacuation orders that may be issued for future storms. Many who tried to buy supplies in advance of Irma saw how quickly items such as water, canned goods and plywood disappear from stores when a storm is already approaching. He hopes this will convince residents to start their hurricane season preparations before a hurricane is headed our way.

“After a storm is out there and we know it’s headed our way, it can easily already be too late,” Hodge said. “The time to start making those preparations — to make sure you have your emergency kit ready and know where you’re going and where your pets are going — is right now.”

Emergency Management officials encourage resi-dents to always have an emergency kit and plans ready . The first day of each hurricane season (June 1) is a good time to review kits and plans, and make sure everything is still good to go.

County officials heard a number of residents complain they had wasted time and money getting ready for Irma after the storm shifted track. Hodge said no one should feel their efforts were wasted.

“Hurricane season is far from over,” Hodge warned. “The season doesn’t end until November, and this is actually the peak of hurricane season. Historically, September and October are when we’re most likely to be hit by a hurricane. I’d always rather spend some time getting ready and end up not needing those preparations, than to wait until the last minute and be sorry. We don’t want anybody to find themselves in that situation.”

Hodge recommends every family, individual, business and group in Georgetown County have a disaster plan in place that includes what to do in a hurricane. Residents should also realize that in the event of a major hit by a hurricane, utilities could be out for weeks and it could take months for life to get back to normal. There’s no avoiding that sort of threat on the coast, so the best thing to do is be as prepared as possible, Hodge added.

For planning information, visit our Emergency Management page or the S.C. Emergency Management Division. Residents can also call (843) 545-3273.

 

County to begin 2nd phase of road resurfacing plan in mid-July
June 29, 2017

Georgetown County residents will see more than 60 road resurfacing projects completed over the next 12 months, thanks to the 1 percent Capital Project Sales Tax voters approved in 2014.

This is in addition to more than 40 road projects completed last year during the first phase of work. All projects are scheduled to be finished by June 30, 2018.

The contract was awarded this spring and crews will begin paving in mid-July on roads that don’t require concrete work. For roadways with concrete elements, such as sidewalks, driveways and curbs, concrete work must be completed before paving can begin. Crews will also begin concrete work in areas, including the City of Georgetown’s historic district, in mid-July, said Kit Scott, resident construction engineer for the S.C. Department of Transportation’s office in Georgetown.

SCDOT is working closely with the county on the projects. However, dates for completion of specific roadways within the plan are not available, as the order in which roads are completed is up to the contractor. Contractors are allowed to complete paving in the order they deem most efficient, as long as the full project list is completed by the deadline — June 30 of next year.

View Road List and Completion Status

 

 

Restaurant, community outreach programs included in new airport plan
April 1, 2017

The important role the Georgetown County Airport plays in the area’s tourism and economic development is too often overlooked and uncredited, say members of the County’s Airport Commission.

That group, along with other leaders in the field and county staff, are working on a master plan to correct that. A series of work sessions over the last several months — including a flight to tour the Greenville Downtown Airport and Donaldson Field — have been dedicated to determining what the future of the airport in Georgetown should look like and laying a path to achieve that vision.

What they have come up with so far is a wish list that includes making people (locals as well as potential visitors) more aware of the airport, introducing youth to career possibilities in aviation, and growing the business community around the airport. This includes taking steps to make it easier for economic development staff to attract appropriate businesses to property near the airport and opening a restaurant on the airport campus to cater to pilots as well as attract local residents to visit the airport.

“We’re at the part now where we’re wrestling down the specifics of all the tasks that need to be done and setting time frames,” said Doug Decker, a pilot and tenant at the airport who was recruited to help lead the charge. “The process we’re going through gets down to a fairly finite level of detail.”

To help with that aspect of planning, Decker and the County called on John McDonald. “He’s not an aviation guy,” Decker said. But with a background as deputy undersecretary for the Army and working in the business world, he’s a master at strategy and planning, and knows how to take ideas from paper to reality. Decker said his biggest concern was that a plan would be created and left to gather dust on a shelf somewhere. McDonald’s role is to ensure that doesn’t happen.

It is expected to take about 10 years for all aspects of the plan to be executed. But some components will start to be carried out as early as this summer. Among the first goals to be tackled will be community outreach. Airport Commission members will reach out to the Chamber of Commerce, Economic Development Alliance and local schools to form partnerships and find ways they can help each other.

Committee members said they see a great need to reach out to local schools, expanding and creating programs that allow students to visit the airport and, in some cases, even take their first flight. There is a huge number of students in the county who have never been on an airplane or even to a regional airport, committee members said during their most recent meeting March 23. That, they said, certainly contributes to the lack of interest locally in pursuing careers in aviation.

“We have a lack of demand here for flight training and also for mechanical engineering programs up at PIA [Pittsburgh Institute for Aeronautics] in Myrtle Beach,” Decker said. “We just haven’t built that demand from the bottom up. We have to reach out to schools at the high school and college level with robust programs and let them know what kinds of opportunities there are for people with those skills. There is good pay and a demand for people in those jobs.”

PIA has a facility use agreement with Horry-Georgetown Technical College, and thus could offer satellite courses on HGTC property in Georgetown.

 The S.C. Aeronautics Commission already has a high school curriculum developed and ready for use that local schools could put in place.

James Stephens, executive director of the state commission, is part of the Georgetown planning group and said he applauds the county’s vision for the airport and is enthusiastic about seeing their goals become reality.

“The development of a business plan will enhance the airport and ultimately the economic viability of the community,” he said. “Airports are a vital part of the transportation infrastructure within their respective communities, and without this critical infrastructure component, economic development efforts are often inhibited.”

Aerospace is the second largest industry in South Carolina, and the coastal region leads in aerospace jobs and services, he added. 

“The strategic efforts that are currently underway will enable Georgetown County to be part of the growth, and doing so at the airport will facilitate further aviation/aerospace opportunities for the state and the county,” Stephens said. “I look forward to the completion of the project, and I believe that the end product will be something that can be replicated across South Carolina at many of our other airports.”

Planning meetings will continue and, once completed, the resulting master plan will be presented to the public by the end of this year.

“We’re excited about the plans being made here and the potential of our airport,” said Ray Funnye, director of the county’s Public Services Department, which is in charge of the airport. “We already have a wonderful facility here, and we’re delighted to be able to put things in motion to really highlight that and make it even better.”

 

 

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