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Mayor's Greeting

Mayor Pat O'Neil

Mayor Pat O'Neil

Dear Island Neighbors,

Summer is a busy season here on the Island: Fire and Rescue Fish Fry and Independence Day events, plus I have a stormwater management update and Ben Sawyer Bridge info. So let’s get down to business!

Fish Fry: June 25th

Many thanks to everyone who came out for our 67th (!!!) annual fish fry to support our great Fire and Rescue team.  You may not know that much of the equipment they use to keep us and our visitors safe is bought with proceeds from this event. As just one example: the squad uses their jet skis a number of times each year to quickly reach people who get in trouble in the water…and usually these are situations where seconds literally make a life or death difference.  

Independence Day events on July 2 and 4

I hope you enjoyed our annual Park event with band and evening fireworks show that took place this  year on July 2nd.  I had the pleasure of being master-of-ceremony for the traditional golf cart parade on Independence Day, July 4, that rolled out from the school.  I was impressed by the display of patriotism on the Bicycles and Golf Carts.  Many thanks to our residents who helped the Recreation Committee of Council with the post-parade celebration at the Fish Fry Shack/Island Club. A good time was had by all.

Stormwater drainage improvements

Recently we have been able to complete a few much-needed improvements to the Island’s stormwater system. Actually nearly all of our stormwater system is owned by the state Department of Transportation, which owns the roads. And we all know what their budget is like. But with funding by the Charleston County Transportation Sales Tax program we were able to take a couple of bites out of our drainage problems. On Station 24 between Atlantic and I’on Avenues, about 800 feet of new pipe and 7 “drop inlets” (storm drains) were installed. On I’on Avenue at Stations 19 and 22, about 500 feet of old, inadequate clay pipe was replaced. None of this comes cheap; the first project cost about $230,00 and the second one about $190,000.

Ben Sawyer Bridge

You may have seen the bridge open for one boat, then close, then open for another boat just a few minutes later. Do you wonder why the bridge tender doesn’t just wait for the second boat time to arrive before opening, so that both boats can go through at the same time?

There’s a simple answer: $25,000. That’s the maximum fine a bridge tender can be hit with for not “promptly and fully” opening a bridge over a federal navigable waterway (like the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway) when a vessel rightfully requests passage. It’s a matter of federal law.

Your perception of how long it takes for the bridge to let a vessel through understandably depends on whether you’re in a rush to get to an appointment or event, or just enjoying the opportunity to watch the boats and birds. Town Administrator Andy Benke recently timed one complete opening-closing cycle from the time the gate went down to when it was lifted so traffic could resume. The result: six and a half minutes.

As a reminder, on weekends and federal holidays, the bridge opens when needed only on the hour, between 9AM and 7PM, and on demand at other times. On weekdays that are not federal holidays, the bridge opens at any time on demand, except that it will not open between 7AM and 9 AM and between 4PM and 6 PM. Exceptions: the bridge opens at any time when requested by a federal government vessel, commercial vessel, or vessel in distress.

Don’t forget, if you are registered for the Nixle notification system you can get alerts from our police if an accident or other situation forces closure of the bridge or causeway to vehicular traffic. You can sign up at https://local.nixle.com/register .

See you around the Island!

Pat O'Neil


Cell: 843 670 9266




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