McCormick County (SC) – Economic Development Strategic Plan
ChallengeMcCormick County, South Carolina is rich in both natural resources and history. Immense tracks of forested public land, over 1,000 miles of lake front property, and numerous historical sites create significant economic opportunity for McCormick County. These resources, coupled with its close proximity to the rapidly growing Augusta metropolitan area, position McCormick County for eminent growth. A shrinking employment base has created an out-migration of families, while at the same time the county has experienced a rapid in-migration of retirees. Confronted with these opportunities and challenges, McCormick County and the State of South Carolina’s Department of Commerce engaged TIP Strategies, Inc., to develop an economic development strategic plan for the county.
ApproachTIP took an asset-based approach to this work, focusing on strategies designed to maximize McCormick’s existing advantages and potential. We began by conducting an economic assessment of the community. In addition to this quantitative analysis, our work was informed by interviews with local businesses and community leaders, as well as with developers. From the assessment we prepared a SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats), which provided the foundation for the development of specific strategies, including target industries.
OutcomeThe resulting plan provides county officials with a five-year blueprint for growth in McCormick County. The primary goals identified in the plan are attracting new talent, diversifying the economy, and enhancing the county’s quality of place. Strategies to accomplish these goals include strengthening ties to the Augusta market; actively promoting recreation and tourism; spearheading development in the county with a blue-ribbon, mix-use land development project; and supporting revitalization and redevelopment efforts in the county. The plan also made organizational recommendations for the county to establish the necessary capacity to guide economic development. With adequate economic development resources and a plan to guide their application, the county will be well-positioned to stimulate new private investment and attract new residents.
Photo credit Mildred Pierce