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From The Blog

Looking Back – 2019 at a Glance

At the Jan. 6 board meeting, KICA Chief Operating Officer Jimmy Bailey highlighted many of the association’s 2019 projects, initiatives and accomplishments, as well as a few exciting Kiawah Island happenings.

  • Kiawah cares raised $105k in humanitarian aid for Johns and Wadmalaw islands
  • KICA introduced new fitness classes at Sandcastle
  • Sanctuary earned the AAA Five Diamond Award and Forbes Travel Guide 5 star rating for the 11th straight season
  • Kiawah named a top ten beach in the world and 2nd best island in the country by travel magazines
  • Board passed a conveyance policy
  • Elected two new directors, the Dave Morley and David DeStefano
  • Another very successful Celebrate Kiawah member event
  • Our financials received an excellent audit – special kudos to our finance team as the outside auditors did not require a single journal entry
  • British Airways launched a Charleston to London flight
  • Sandcastle hosted a successful season of Thursday night dinners by Cru
  • April 26th – earliest turtle nest ever recorded on Kiawah and marked the start of an unbelievably active turtle nesting season with over 500 nests
  • Infrastructure Projects
    • Replaced the bass pond fishing dock
    • Over $1 million in drainage repair and replacement
    • Launched pond edge pruning process
    • Eagle Point Bridge – major repairs
    • Envirolok bank stabilization project in the Inlet Cove channel, our biggest drainage outfall
    • Rebuilt 3 boardwalks
    • Leisure trail resurfacing
    • Street sign replacement – multi-year project – one year to go
    • Installed fish cleaning station at Rhett’s Bluff
  • Saw the retirement of our long time Land and Lakes Director, Dave Achey after 28 years and the hiring of his replacement Doug Walter, who joined us from Pinehurst
  • We also said goodbye to Board Treasurer Mike Feldmann, who had to resign from the board when he sold his Kiawah property.  After it became apparent that Mike would not have a replacement property as soon as originally thought, the board appointed Diana Mezzanotte to serve out the reminder of his term
  • Two former Mayors passed away – Bo Turner, the island’s first Mayor, and Bill Wert, who also served as KICA Chair
  • Security spent the year getting their new access system installed – it’s live now and the member portal and app should debut very soon
  • Hired our first ever resilience specialist, Lucas Hernandez and formed the water management task force to develop options for flood mitigation.  I’d like to thank our volunteer committee members who’ve lent their assistance to that effort which we’ll soon share with the community
    • Lucas also developed a tool for members to report flood issues to be incorporated into his water management modeling of the island – with every report of flooding in a specific location, the model gets smarter and better.  That’s pretty important when you consider the fact that we’ve seen abnormally high tides increase from 9.3 events per year in the 1980’s to 42 events per years in the 2010’s (with 89 last year) – data that was just released by National Weather Service Charleston. Lucas is also working with the town to get a new tide station installed in the Kiawah River, to ensure the data we’re collecting is accurate
  • Conducted a community engagement process with three town hall meetings followed by a survey on strategic direction and operational strengths and weaknesses.  More than 2000 members participated. We learned that there is high satisfaction across most areas, though some room for improvement in rules enforcement. That sentiment seemed to be reinforced during the town’s debate on short term rentals, and we look forward to working with them toward improvement in that regard.
  • While our communications received extremely high marks in the survey, our team audited our various platforms, as well as our visual identity with the goal of making our content more readable and recognizable.
  • Members gave very generously to an employee fund to provide a thank you and financial boost to our non-management level employees
  • Another fall, another evacuation order and hurricane.  Dorian came in September, which marked the 5th straight year Kiawah has dealt with some form of natural disaster.  As always, our team performed magnificently in getting the island back in order quickly.