04 Apr Why are young families leaving Beaufort?
We are losing homegrown talent and must do something about it.
Since I was a teenager growing up in Beaufort, City and County Fathers/Mothers have talked about better jobs closer to home. Fifty plus years later, the only difference is that some leaders have lost sight of the need for better jobs to allow our young people to stay here or return after formal education elsewhere.
Furthermore, as a county we pay a huge price for not investing what is necessary to address this longstanding challenge. In the minds of some, an extraordinary burden is placed on residential property owners because there are few substantial businesses to share the tax burden.
Last week, I wrote briefly about the “authenticity” of Beaufort due to a balance between working families, retirees who are actively engaged in the community and visitors.
While this is not the sole responsibility of government, we are concerned and need your help. Please think about what you might be able to add to the conversation. Do you know people who might be interested in starting or relocating businesses to Beaufort County? Skills you might have to help our existing small businesses grow? And any other ideas.
While we believe a county wide effort is the best approach, after years of waiting for leadership and investment from the County, the City cannot wait for consensus among a divided County Council. The City is working closely with the Towns of Port Royal, Bluffton and Hilton Head Island to collaborate in the absence of leadership from the County.
Stephen Murray, as a successful small businessman and member of the City Council and Redevelopment Commission, is spearheading initiatives on several fronts. Please let him or I know if you think you can help.
If you have read this far you might be interested in the article from the Packet/Gazette and the readers response below.
Story in The Island Packet
Reader’s Response from Gazette
Having lived here for the past 3 years, I can attest with the article is saying. I interact with high school kids and young adults and all say the same thing, the lack of opportunities versus the high cost of living. With businesses, the focus is local owned business while Bluffton gets the major chains. There have been so many complaints with Wal-Mart and even Harris Teeters coming to town because they must conform to the architecture and rules of Beaufort. Entertainment is another issue as Bay St is limited to its activities due to residents complaining about noise level of live music. There is nowhere for entertainment, not even a decent bowling alley or skating rink. Oh wait, you have to go to Savannah for that.Even now with the construction on Boundary St, its a major headache as the logjam of traffic creates major delays. The city is so behind in many aspects and it has so much potential to be more. Only when all of the “old money” in Beaufort is gone will Beaufort prosper.