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From the county’s old jail to its historic courthouse, from an Agribusiness Center to an office building in downtown Lancaster, there has been no shortage of suggestions for where to relocate the Lancaster County Economic Development Corp.
But after months of debate, county officials are hoping a new committee will help put an end to the search.
During Lancaster County Council’s Nov. 11 meeting, Council Chairman Larry McCullough announced the creation of an Economic Development Office Location Committee.
“For the past few months, we’ve been talking about the location of the economic development office and we looked at many different options, looked at the positives and negatives, the pluses and minuses, the advantages and disadvantages,” McCullough said.
He referenced council’s recent decision to halt plans for relocating the LCEDC headquarters to the Agribusiness Development Center along Charlotte Highway (U.S. 521).
“We’re getting to the point where we want to make a decision and we made the decision at the last meeting to get this ready by the end of the first quarter of 2014,” he said.
McCullough officially appointed three council members to the committee, including Bob Bundy, Jack Estridge and Brian Carnes. He also named Bundy as chairman.
“The expectation is that in the January timeframe we’ll have a recommendation from this committee on where it should be located and the funds that are associated,” McCullough said.
The committee’s first meeting was held Thursday, Nov. 21.
McCullough also discussed several other pressing issues during the chairman’s comments portion of the Nov. 11 meeting, a new feature to County Council.
“We have discussed a whole host of items we need to roll up our shirtsleeves on and get done,” he said, referencing several topics discussed during council’s first workshop session in October. “We’ve had some input about the high priorities and the top three.”
Based on input from his fellow council members, McCullough said council’s top priority should be hiring an attorney who would be employed by the county for specific duties.
The other top priorities include a revision of the county’s organizational structure and succession plan, as well as the development of the county’s strategic plan.
“Between now and the next meeting, me and Mr. (Steve) Willis will get the details from the rest of council. Then we’ll try and look at and work on numbers one, two, three and cross those out and hopefully add another one, two, three more,” McCullough said.
Finally, McCullough announced the “graduation” of several county officials from a year-long educational session hosted by the S.C Economic Development Institute.
Hosted by the S.C. Department of Commerce, the institute is an educational program focused on fostering economic development activities and strategies throughout the state.
Graduates from this year’s four quarterly sessions included McCullough, Carnes and LCEDC employee Elaine McKinney. On hand to present their certificates was Kim Westbury, a regional director with SCDOC.
“This year we had a leadership and communication session, a business development session and even an infrastructure session. They were very successful,” Westbury told council. “Going into the local communities was great to help attendees get out of their comfort zones and meet new people and learn things to bring home.”