We must remain authentic at any price

28 Mar We must remain authentic at any price

Recent reports indicate we are facing the opportunity of exponential in-migration of residents. This is not bad, but it is something for which we should be prepared.

If there is one thing that clearly distinguishes the special place we call home from other places along the pressured and fast growing coastal seaboard, it is our unique sense of place. The collaboration among many continues to preserve and treasure Beaufort’s authenticity. Yes, we are the real thing and must stay rooted while growing the right direction to become even more environmentally and fiscally sustainable.

While we remain a small city, seeking to grow “the right way”, we could very well be envious of faster growing places. However, we have steadfastly stayed focused on who we are and what we want to be - perhaps at the expense of the quick and seemingly easy dollar. That is okay by me.

I read recent stories about Beaufort County being the 13th fastest growing county in the country with mixed feelings. I do not want to be greedy and not share with others what we have. At the same time I do not want to be overcome with infrastructure challenges before we know it.

I believe Beaufort requires a careful balance between those in the workforce, retirees and visitors. If we lose this balance, I think we will be like other places that have become exclusively tourist and retirement destinations.

So as we look for new residents among those coming, let’s make a special effort to find those who can bring better jobs to our young people. Let’s bring those who really appreciate the authentic hometown. Let’s bring those who want love what we have and do not want to change it.

The choice, through marketing and our public countenance, of how Beaufort grows is ours. I believe the City’s Civic Master Plan and the Beaufort Code which is in progress create a path. Let’s work together to follow that path. Of course, it will need modification along the way as no plan is perfect.

For more on this subject, the following articles may be of interest:

Lauderdale: Where is Hilton Head Island?

S.C. coastal cities among fastest-growing in the nation — again