"Pearl of the Pee Dee" was not some catchy phrase that meant nothing. There was a time when Darlington County was progressive and growing. Economic Development needs to focus on bringing new industry and creating jobs. We are maintaining more employees in Economic Development than ever before - salaries, benefits, vehicle, travel, traing, etc., yet Darlington County has seen no new development in over 2 years.
If we want strong local economies and thriving municipalities, then people need jobs close to home. We are on the fringe of counties celebrating a record breaking year with brand new companies breaking ground. Our economic development tagline should not be "Darlington County, The Bedroom Community to Florence County". Our local economy cannot sustain itself if all people do is spend the night in Darlington County. If we had companies coming to down, we would have good jobs for our citizens to make a living and raise a family. We would not be experiencing a population decline and we could support local merchants for viable and desirable municipalities. We've been 2 years with NO NEW JOBS! In fact, one plant had to layoff 250 employees! It is well past time for our for some progress that benefits the taxpayers! Prospecting doesn’t mean sit and wait for it to come to us - it means go get these companies interested in Darlington County. Part of the problem is it should be a team effort that includes council but it’s unfortunately a very segregated operation with no results. So, their industry recruitment model is not working, but it looks like everybody is having a great time. It’s time for the rubber to meet the road or it’s time to make some changes.
Fortunately, County Council voted to apply millions of ARP funds to ensure broadband service is available countywide. This is in the works right now! Due to COVID, children learning from home and parents working from home require hi-speed internet. Some areas have NOTHING and other rural areas have very slow internet limiting the number of people that can using a device at a certain time. Limiting children's ability to work simultaneously on school work and/or parents ability to work from home during the same hours -
THIS IS CRITICAL!
Combine efforts with municipalities throughout the county (Darlington, Hartsville, Lamar, Society Hill City/Town Councils) to preserve and restore properties owned by each that are historical in nature, in ill-repair or in danger of complete loss.
UPDATE - exploring grant opportunities to support efforts of property owners as well as zoning for owners to take advantage of tax credits.
Make a statement @ I-20, Hwy 151, Hwy 15/401, etc!
Invite travelers to take a detour to see a quaint southern district and make it worth the trip! Entrances at our county line is our FRONT DOOR!
"Roll out the welcome mat" to mark the corridors at EVERY entrance of the county line.
To offer assistance with a county wide spay/neuter program to address the issue of overcrowding which results a lot of times in euthanasia.
UPDATE - $8,000 donation to Outreach Spay/Neuter Program to sustain procedures through December 2023. And, Darlington County Humane Society to include a Line Item in their budget to help sustain the Spay/Neuter Program @ $1,000 per month.
Get back to the original plan for the Prison Farm to reduce/eliminate the cost of running it through government funds.
UPDATE - using Prison Farm for clean-up efforts and litter control throughout the county.