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Letter: All-America vision, All-America county

Posted: July 9, 2018 2:44 p.m.
Updated: July 10, 2018 1:00 a.m.

It is a great day in Kershaw County.

Indeed it is, with our overwhelming win on the national stage as the “All-America City,” Kershaw County. It was a David and Goliath moment. The only county in the USA, and only with our 65,000 citizens, but, win we did when our three municipalities and the county came together as one team to dominate the competition in Denver at the National Civic League conference -- against cities 50 times our size, such as El Paso, San Antonio, Las Vegas and nearby Columbia.  Elgin, Bethune and Camden and Kershaw County schools and council, an “All America” team, learning from the 20 other finalists from all across the USA.

Let’s thank those who won it for us, for Kershaw County. At the very center of our win was the PLAY Foundation, a private citizens’ non-profit organization led by Laurey Carpenter that has already shown us what motivated citizens can do:  the new playground at KC West for example.  The PLAY Foundation seized on the county vision document, VisionKershaw 2030, as the basis for our application.

With an exciting presentation on Vision2030, on the Community Medical Clinic’s “LiveWell Kershaw” and on our high school & Boys and Girls Club programs, we walked away with all three awards offered. A clean sweep.

So, now what?

We continue to move forward, using VisionKershaw 2030 as our guide.

We won, but the hard work of building that vision continues. The recent budget stands as a great example. With last fiscal year in the books, and the new budget year just begun on July 1, we have some notable benchmarks:

• We achieved a balanced budget, “in the black” and with no new taxes, all while sustaining vital services. These include expanded ambulance capability, solid waste, and improved roads that you see everywhere.

• We expanded school SRO coverage, providing a second officer at L-EHS.

• We adjusted our pay scales for our lowest paid county employees.

• We continued improvement to economic development, with more than 550 jobs and $250 million in new investment in the last three years; and a new building on U.S. 601 for new business.

• We work with the school board, our new superintendent, Dr Robbins, and CCTC to capitalize on our investment in the work force for great students with great jobs.

The future is bright indeed. Sure, there are issues; but, I am convinced that there is nothing wrong with Kershaw County that cannot be fixed by what is  right with Kershaw County! I received a text recently from a great friend of Kershaw County, who was among the generous sponsors of this “All-America” pursuit. He reminded me of Jeremiah 29:11 where it says: “‘For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.’”

That tells me that we, Kershaw County, are blessed and will be blessed as we set about to continue to make this the great place to live, to work, to worship and to raise our families: Open for Business.  So, let’s continue to roll up our sleeves to build that better future through our Faith, and our faith in ourselves as “All-Americans.”

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