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Chamber leaders look to Beaufort for advice

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By Lancaster County Chamber of Commerce

"Leading Businesses and Leading Communities" is the theme of the 38th annual planning conference of the Lancaster County Chamber of Commerce, set for Nov. 7-9, in the historic town of Beaufort.

"Lancaster County is on the threshold of exploding growth, and we chose Beaufort as our conference site because we believe much can be learned from another community that has encountered many of the challenges we are beginning to face," said chamber Chairman Jay Rainey.

Beaufort leaders will share how they have successfully met the challenges of being the fastest-growing county in South Carolina over the past decade since the completion of the first Sun City community in the state during a Nov. 7 conference.

Beaufort Schools Chief Financial Officer Phyllis White will discuss "School Infrastructure: Impact of Sun City" and Tony Cristello, Beaufort County planning director, will look at "Traffic, Infrastructure Needs: Growth Impact."

Beaufort Main Street Director Joy Locke will talk to conference attendees on "Successful Downtown Revitalization," and Beaufort Chamber Tourism Consultant Liz Mitchell will address "Chamber, City, County Tourism Efforts."

"We appreciate having the insights of these Beaufort leaders," Rainey said. "Their input concerning the exploding population growth of Beaufort, improvements in their downtown, and the development of the welcome center will be valuable to both our government and business leaders."

The final session on Sunday morning will allow attendees to begin developing a list of ideas designed to improve Lancaster County.

"The Saturday session with Beaufort leaders should enhance the flow of new visions for the chamber and the community to consider in 2009. The Lancaster community and chamber should bring back fresh initiatives on how we can together build a stronger and better community," Rainey said.

Conference attendees will be housed in the new Holiday Inn-Beaufort, which overlooks the marsh of St. Helena Sound, and is the area's only full service, all-suites hotel.

The weekend will begin with a networking event with Beaufort chamber members, followed by an evening social at The Tides Lounge. Fine dining at the Albergotti Grill will conclude Friday's events. Saturday and Sunday morning breakfast is included in the conference package.

Reservation information has been mailed to the membership.

"We have an important assignment for the weekend as we begin setting our goals for our 2009 Program of Action, and we have a beautiful site to visit, but to be successful, we need membership participation and input," Rainey said. "We encourage our membership to join us the weekend of Nov. 7-9."