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Letter: Econ dev more than tax agreements, facilities

Posted: April 2, 2018 2:53 p.m.
Updated: April 3, 2018 1:00 a.m.

I read the recent article in the Chronicle-Independent about economic development in Kershaw County with great interest. I’m fortunate to have worked in several places and have seen economic development from a number of different angles.

Places where I have seen economic development done the most successfully have certainly focused on tax agreements and “product” like industrial sites and buildings and roads. The idea that these areas do not require proactive investment is naïve at best.

But what I have seen that separates the contenders from everyone else is a very strong focus on quality of life issues such as educational opportunities (beyond just workforce development programs), health care, safety, recreation, libraries, and culture. If our community is to succeed economically over the long term, it is imperative that we aggressively attend to the whole range of factors that prospective companies consider.

Over the past five to seven years, Kershaw County has taken some positive steps and we have seen some real success. However, companies considering Kershaw County versus our competition look at a much larger picture than just tax rates and facilities. Moving forward, our community’s perspective about economic development and what will make it happen needs to expand.

A good start would be to look very honestly at how we stack up against our competition in areas beyond the most basic and practical ones.

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