Island's public parks offer wealth of delights

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This month - especially our Fourth of July festivities- always evokes Norman Rockwell-style images of communities such as ours gathering to celebrate the tastes and traditions of summer and the bold and blazing fireworks of freedom.

And, more often than not, those same images transport us to a certain place: the park.

Parks are important, not only to our great nation, but likewise to our Town of Hilton Head Island. Among the long list of benefits provided by our Town parks to our citizens and visitors, consider these: parks create community, provide opportunity and help make memories. Just think apple pie and Fourth of July.

Our parks are not a mistake; they are the reward of planning and purchasing done by the Town of Hilton Head Island during the course of its 34 years of incorporation.

Beaufort County has done its share to add to this portfolio too.

We islanders can gather and recreate at 22 public parks on our Island, covering about 420 acres of land.

Seven beach parks, 11 active parks, four passive parks and two boat ramps await our arrival.

And a funny thing happens at the park.

There, everyone is part of the island community. The great equalizer is our common enjoyment of that place, and the family, friends and neighbors there with us.

Your Town is inviting you to share a park and to smile, laugh and play with those community members sharing it with you.

What would you like to try? Tennis? Rowing? Bird-watching or botany? Would you like to play a sport, cheer on a team, swing on a swing, climb or just stroll?

How about some music, some food or some art? Have you thrown a cast net or flown a kite?

These same places that create community also provide the perfect opportunity for such discoveries.

Try some things on your own, or seek out the many non-profits that strive to make each of these experiences (and more) available to the public - like the Island Recreation Association, the Coastal Discovery Museum and the Heritage Library.

Would you like to stay put or travel from one park to another?

You can tour the 64 miles of pathways that connect our Island community. In bicycle terms, these pathways are the gold standard. Stop at a kiosk to find where you've been, where you are, and where you're heading.

Take up the challenge to enjoy all that Hilton Head Island has to offer. Your Town invests about $1.3 million annually to maintain these magnificent assets for your enjoyment, and we have invested some $3.5 million to construct or improve them over the past five years.

They are magnificent places and perfect for your summer outing.

So pick a park, plot a path, pack a picnic and play a day away at a public park.

(Thanks to John Troyer and Julian Walls for contributing to this article. Sign up for the Mayor's email newsletter at MayorDavidBennett.com.)

David Bennett is the mayor of the Town of Hilton Head Island. DavidB@hiltonheadislandsc.gov

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