By Hannah Nuccio for The Island Connection
Seabrook Island celebrated its 30th anniversary. The town, which includes Bohicket Marina, Seabrook Island and a farm property between the two, was formed in 1987 after nearly 85 percent of Seabrook Island residents voted in favor of the incorporation.
Just two years after the formation of the Town of Seabrook Island, Robert Russell, the island’s last developer who four years earlier purchased all of the island’s undeveloped property and sports amenities, filed for bankruptcy after suffering financial difficulties resulting from the downturn in the real estate market. Ominously, the very next day, Hurricane Hugo hit the island, leaving a wake of destruction.
“From that day forward, the Town of Seabrook Island slowly rebuilt itself, thanks to the foresight of the Property Owners Association at the time and the dedicated citizens of Seabrook Island who formed a committee to purchase the amenity assets out of bankruptcy,” said Ron Ciancio, Mayor of the Town of Seabrook Island.
“Since then, the original structures of the Seabrook Island Club have been updated and expanded. The Property Owners Association constructed the Lake House, a 28,000-square-foot fitness, wellness and meeting center featuring state-ofthe- art equipment, indoor and outdoor swimming pools, and extensive exercise programs. Our recreational amenities are among the best on the Southeast coast.”
Today, the resilient Town of Seabrook Island is a thriving destination and private residential community with 2,600 property owners from all over the world. The Audubon International Green Community is dedicated to preserving the island’s natural resources and recently received the Best Restored Beach Award from the American Shore and Beach Preservation Association.
“We like to say that we ‘control our own destiny.’ Each of the major institutions on the island, the Club, the POA and the Town, are under the control of our residents – not developers,” said Mayor Ciancio. “Volunteerism is the staple of our community. Men and women volunteer their time and talent to make each of these institutions operate efficiently and in the interest of our residents. I am particularly proud that their efforts are not limited to Seabrook Island. Many of our residents spend countless hours volunteering with nonprofit organizations on Johns Island and in Charleston.”
“Like other communities, Seabrook Island will face numerous challenges over the next several decades,” said Mayor Ciancio. “However, given our history and the character of our community and its residents, I am highly confident that those challenges will be adequately met, and that Seabrook Island will continue to be a vibrant community.”