Study should help leaders promote historic assets

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By Johnathan Ryan

Experts on how to best promote the area's top cultural and historical assets say their work in this part of South Carolina looks promising.

"In doing the interviews and getting the information, one thing that is surprising is how much there is in this county," said private consultant Curt Cottle.

He said art forms such as Catawba pottery and the county's Revolutionary War sites are obvious appeals, as are nature-based attractions such as 40-Acre Rock

Carole Summers Morris, another consultant, said leaders here are ready "to go to the next level."

She lauded leaders here for their work on one of the first Main Street programs in South Carolina. They've also cultivated one of the best arts councils in the region, she said.

"Many of them are forward, out-of-the-box thinkers," Morris said.

Cottle served as director of the S.C. Heritage-Tourism Department for seven years and has been in private practice for the past five. Morris owns Meritage Consulting company.

See Lancaster hired them in October to suggest ways to best promote Lancaster County's cultural and historical assets, including arts, customs, events and landmarks. A $25,000 grant from the S.C. State Budget and Control Board is funding the research.

Their research will culminate in a comprehensive report expected to be completed by spring. See Lancaster will use the report to contribute to a new charrette, or roadmap for local tourism promoters.

Cottle and Morris' objectives include product development and marketing.

Morris said that their findings will also be used in conjunction with a National Historic Trust report, which was presented to See Lancaster last fall.

Cottle and Morris have already conducted interviews with See Lancaster, the Lancaster County Council of the Arts and private gallery and studio owners since the study began last fall.

See Lancaster volunteer, Nancy Howell, who penned the application for the state grant, said it was obvious the marketing and promotions group would need experts such as Cottle and Morris to handle the study.

If you'd like to make any suggestions on how to better promote historic and cultural attractions here, Cottle said he'd like to hear the ideas.

He asks that people call him at (803) 781-2365.

Contact Johnathan Ryan at 416-8416 or jryan@thelancasternews.com