From The Blog

Message From COO Jimmy Bailey

I hope this message finds you well, and enjoying the last few weeks of summer. It seems like children go back to school earlier each year, with my three already in the throes of homework and after school activities. It’s been an adjustment at my house, but we really do crave the consistent routine of the school year.

Speaking of routine, ours at KICA is starting to feel normal again. As planned, we reopened The Sandcastle on July 3, and welcomed members back to a host of improvements. Most of you have followed our progress, so I won’t bore you with excruciating detail. For a more in depth review of the renovation scope as well as some pictures, please view past issues of the KICA Digest at or KICA’s Facebook page at

For those who have been able to visit, you’ve likely noticed that there are some elements of the project still underway(most significant being the new bathhouse and boardwalk 8B).A top priority from the beginning was to meet an extremely aggressive timeline (close Oct. 25 and reopen July 3). This timeline meant we had to prioritize those things absolutely necessary to reopen, and those that could continue after we were operational. Fortunately, all the crucial elements were done, and the feedback from our membership has been overwhelmingly positive. For too many years, we did not take advantage of our oceanfront location, and the building itself had become dated and insufficient for the variety of uses, including fitness, pool and beach experience, and community meeting space. We’ve made dramatic improvements in those key areas, in addition to some critical functionality with brand new mechanicals, a new roof, and an expanded parking lot.

We’ve identified and received member input on punch list items, as well as a few areas where adjustments are needed. We know we need more seating and shade by the new pool, members crave a return of the lending library, and we still have more demand than space at The Sandcastle for community events (though Beachwalker Center has available capacity).We are working on these things, but are mindful of the fact that we’ve paid for this project with no additional assessments. Our budget projections currently indicate that construction costs, inclusive of several unavoidable change orders of around$300,000, will come in slightly less than the original estimate, while third-party inspection and oversight fees are higher than anticipated. The total project is expected to be completed for between 3-5% higher than the original estimate

One of the highlights associated with our reopening has been KICA’s new partnership with Cru Catering, and their involvement with the Castle Grille and Sandbar. Members have raved about the quality of the food and beverage offerings, and sales numbers confirm what we’ve heard. During the first30 days of operations, sales were 79% higher than the same30 day period in 2017. As the summer season winds down, KICA will discuss an ongoing relationship with Cru. In the meantime, Cru owner and chef John Zucker offered the following: “Having the opportunity to increase the level of food, beverage and service at The Sandcastle was a challenge Cru Catering was looking forward to tackling. Working with the wonderful KICA staff has made the process much easier than anticipated. We hope that we are representing KICA and its members positively. Thank you from Cru Catering and our staff for the opportunity!”

Community Engagement Sessions and Strategic Planning
I’d also like to provide some important information on ways you can share your perspective on the direction of the community. During KICA’s annual strategic planning retreat in January, the
board’s consensus was that the existing strategic plan remained relevant, and concluded that there weren’t obvious additions or deletions. However, it determined that the entire community should weigh in on this important topic. The strategic plan provides broad direction for the board, and guidance to the staff in operational planning.

Accordingly, all KICA members are invited to join us for a Kiawah Community Conversation. These community engagement sessions provide an opportunity for the board to learn property owners’ perceptions of the current and future direction of the community, which will help guide the association’s strategic planning.

David McNair, president of The McNair Group, will facilitate these meetings, and you’ll have a chance to register your thoughts and perspectives in a ‘live response feedback’ that will establish priorities for discussion. We promise this will be engaging and informative. NOTE: please bring your smartphone to participate in live text voting.

Three community engagement sessions are scheduled, and spread over a period of months. We hope that having one session prior to Labor Day and two in the fall will allow for wide-ranging participation by different segments of our membership. All sessions will be held in The Sandcastle ballroom on the following (remaining) dates:

  • Monday, Oct. 8 at 6 p.m.
  •  Thursday, Nov. 15 at 9 a.m.

The McNair group will follow these sessions with an electronic survey of the membership, in order to collect broad based input. We encourage you to participate.

Closing Thoughts
When I think about The Sandcastle project and the upcoming community engagement sessions, I think about KICA’s mission statement, which is as follows:

The Kiawah Island Community Association exists to preserve and enhance the quality of life and property values of its members. This includes taking the leadership role in ensuring that Kiawah Island’s unique look and feel is preserved by exceptional stewardship of its resources, which provide for a beautiful, safe, well maintained, and friendly community.

It’s fitting that as we celebrate this wonderful reinvestment in Kiawah by our community, we’re also looking to the future and getting your input on making sure our strategies align with our mission. I look forward to seeing you soon.