Tybee looks at improving hydrants in unincorporated communities

Hydrant access improvement talks spurred by huge spring fire in unincorporated community

(TYBEE ISLAND) Efforts are underway to get lifesaving water service to more than two hundred homes on Tybee Island. Those home are in the two unincorporated communities there, Estill Hammocks and Spanish Hammocks, tucked away on the southwest edge of the island. Fire hydrant access for the communities is on Highway 80 and the challenges became apparent in the spring, when two homes were destroyed by fire and a third was damaged on Pelican Drive in April. For people living without ready fire hydrant access, like Arnie Correa, the issue is top-of-mind. “It’s a concern. Because obviously it’s in our community and it certainly was a big fire that didn’t seem to be in control. So, it always worries all our homeowners, all of the homeowners here.” Correa said.

Tybee’s Island’s Infrastructure Committee Chair, Mayor Pro Temp, Barry Brown, is taking a close look at providing the lifesaving water service needed in the unincorporated areas, without folding Spanish and Estill Hammocks into the municipality. Brown says it’s not about annexation. ” It’s a public safety issue. Not only for the fire, but for the fire trucks having to cross back-and-forth to Highway 80 in a busy season.” said Brown. He says the city is working with some of the affected residents, who are asking for the help, but Correa says some of his neighbors are doing some exploring on their own, to get the service they need without the city’s help. ” We have also looked, or are searching, researching a private well that will provide our own water as well to provide a fire hydrant in this community. We’re hoping, again, of possibly looking at a private well that will supply us the water rather than depending on the city.” said Correa.  Brown says the next step for the committee is to look at engineering and meet with homeowners campaigning for the assistance. Brown says the city needs to get cost projections as well. He expects the issue to be a topic of discussion at the next Infrastructure Committee meeting scheduled for September 14, 2017.

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