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County Council to vote on See Lancaster request

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By Chris Sardelli

Eric Rowell hopes Lancaster County Council will soon approve the final portion of a plan to restructure See Lancaster, a group that promotes tourism within the county.

Rowell, See Lancaster’s board chairman, addressed council Monday night, along with Jay Rainey, who is heading a special taskforce on the group.

Rowell and Rainey presented a plan that was approved by Lancaster City Council earlier in March.

Part of the plan would place See Lancaster’s welcome center under direction of the county, and would move the office and its employee to the Lancaster County Courthouse after it’s renovated.

Several council members had questions for Rowell and Rainey.

Councilwoman Kathy Sistare wondered how much the plan would cost the county.

Councilman Larry McCullough asked whether there would be a monitoring system in place to track the group’s progress.  

Councilman Rudy Carter wanted more information on the decision to split responsibility of See Lancaster between the city and county.  He was also wanted more information on the recommendation to move the welcome center to the courthouse.

Rainey said the task force believes both See Lancaster and the courthouse benefit from the union.

“One of the things we really tried to focus on was we needed a really visible site in the county that we felt would be a tourist attraction. What better place than the newly renovated courthouse?” Rainey said. “It would encourage people visiting the county to see the courthouse and walk into it.”

Lancaster County Administrator Steve Willis said the estimated cost for the county would probably be more than $30,000.

This amount would include the costs for a welcome center employee, fringe benefits, supplies and other miscellaneous items.

New structure

The first portion of the restructuring – to merge See Lancaster with the Performing Arts Series at the University of South Carolina at Lancaster – was approved unanimously by City Council on March 10.

Rainey said he favored that plan because the Arts Series has name recognition that can make See Lancaster more of a tourism magnet.

Rainey and Rowell presented City Council with four restructuring options. The option that was chosen by the city requires approval by both the city and county councils.

Rowell and Rainey had planned to meet this week with Willis, County Council Chairman Fred Thomas and any council member who waned more information on the proposal.

County Council is slated to vote on See Lancaster’s request Monday night.

Contact reporter Chris Sardelli  at csardelli@thelancasternews.com or at (803) 416-8416