McCormick 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 provide the county significant economic opportunities. These resources, coupled with its proximity to a rapidly growing Augusta metropolitan area, positioned McCormick County for eminent growth in the mid-2000s. However, this growth was threatened by the county’s shrinking employment base, a subsequent out-migration of families, and a concurrent 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 to develop a five-year economic development strategic plan. TIP took an asset-based approach to this work, focusing on strategies that would maximize McCormick’s existing advantages and potential. Informed by extensive stakeholder engagement and a target industries analysis, the plan identified three primary goals: attracting new talent, diversifying the economy, and enhancing the county’s quality of place. In addition, TIP provided strategies to accomplish these goals, including 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 to help the County create the capacity necessary to execute the strategic plan. With ample economic development resources and a plan to guide their application, TIP left McCormick well-positioned to stimulate new private investment and attract new residents.