The Murrells Inlet 2020 board of directors is gearing up for its fall Chowder Talk, set for Tuesday, Sept. 27.
MI2020 Executive Director Renee Williamson reported at the group’s Sept. 7 meeting that the biannual community event will feature a recycling talk with representatives from Georgetown County Recycling, an unveiling of the new MI2020 website and an update about the group’s five-year strategic plan.
“The folks from Georgetown County Recycling will share information about where people can recycle and what they can recycle,” Williamson said. “We are also very excited about unveiling our new website, which will be up and running by the date of the Chowder Talk.”
She said the strategic plan update will include a brief summary of progress in each of the six focus areas of the plan, which promotes: infrastructure improvements; environmental awareness; local commerce; water quality and wetlands preservation for future generations; as well as improving communications, marketing and public relations and strengthening the organization.
The plan is set for 100 percent implementation by June 2021.
“The clock is ticking,” said Scott Gibson, an advisory board member who has led the effort to create a strategic plan. “I think we should shoot for full implementation in three years instead of five years.”
During each monthly meeting, board members assigned to each focus area are asked to report the progress to the board. One of the areas that is steadily moving forward is promoting infrastructure improvements, including plans for a Inlet to Intracoastal multipurpose Path, called the I2I path.
Board members Jeff Ciuba and Linda Lane reported that they have created a committee to keep the process moving along. It will include themselves, Linda Ketron, who has led a decade-long effort to create a Bike the Neck path on the Waccamaw Neck, Rob Salvino, who has experience with road projects in the area, and Bruce Bailey, CEO of Tidelands Health, which has expressed interest in being part of the project.
“Hopefully, we will get together soon to discuss some of the details of the project,” Ciuba said.
The board voted unanimously at the meeting to evoke its sole-source procurement policy, which will allow them to forgo the usual bid process for the path’s survey work. They are considering using a surveying company called ETA, which is also being used by Tidelands Health for current work on the grounds of Tidelands Waccamaw Community Hospital.
“The bid process is extensive and could take up to 90 days,” Williamson said. “The sole-source procurement policy states that we can forego that process and it would save us money.”
The board decided that since ETA is working with Tidelands Health, they are in a unique situation.
“I am for doing that,” said board member Gary O’Laughlin. “If we don’t, we could lose the support of Tidelands Health if the process is stymied.”