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Development, recreation opportunities top county list

Posted: February 7, 2012 3:59 p.m.
Updated: February 8, 2012 5:00 a.m.

Members of Kershaw County Council put in extra hours last week during a council retreat Friday and Saturday in an attempt to establish policy goals for the upcoming year. The councilmen hashed out county priorities at Old Armory Steakhouse Friday, and then held a day-long session at the Shaw Recreation Area on Lake Wateree Saturday.

County Council Chairman Gene Wise said council largely focused on economic development, tourism and recreation at the meeting.

“We sweated down all the issues we wanted to talk about and then found a few that we wanted to move the needle on in 2012,” Wise said. “We had a lot of conversations about what we could do and how we could do it.”

Wise said council is looking into a number of different goals and options for economic development and recreation.

“As far as economic development, we’re looking at additional sites to certify so that they’re ready for industry. We’re also looking to complete our industrial parks. And we’re looking to make sure that water and sewer are available there so that it’s an easy connection,” he said. “With recreation, we’re going through the process of the town hall meetings to determine the programs people want and where they want them. We’re also looking at our facilities there -- both with recreation and our parks as well.”

Councilman Stephen Smoak said he believed the retreat was an overall success.

“There was a lot of discussion and we created some specific directives for county staff, but it was also fairly broad sweeping,” Smoak said, “But I thought we had a good planning session and we were able to identify some priorities for the county to focus on in the next year. It also allowed us to give staff some explicit direction on where we wanted the county to go this year and work out some of the information that we will need to help make the best decisions possible.”

Councilman C.R. Miles said the retreat helped to move council in a more focused direction.

“Everybody came up with some goals and we had about six or seven in mind, but then we narrowed it down to two or three common goals to work on for the rest of the year,” Miles said. “So we want to focus on recreation, economic development and tourism. All those kind of go hand-in-hand, but as the year goes on, we’ll get a little more in-depth and work harder on each one of them.”

Councilman Sammie Tucker Jr. said specifics weren’t really discussed at the meeting, but believed it will help to create common ground for council members.

“We addressed some goals and some projects for some basic core things, but nothing was really identified in detail,” Tucker said. “We can do a lot of that work during our work sessions and our committee groups. But I thought everyone was gracious and understanding and it’s always nice to be able to respect one another and get along whether we agree or disagree.”

Councilman Jimmie Jones said council completed its goal of determining the most important issues facing the county.

“We went in there to try to identify the core objectives of this council,” Jones said. “We wanted to get a consensus. We wanted to talk to everybody and let everybody voice their most important issues.”

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