John Shiflet says managing growth in York should be one of the city’s top priorities.
The York Economic Development Corporation (YEDC) will work throughout the next few months with city staff and a host of community leaders to develop what they call a “strategic plan” for York. The YEDC hired York resident Jason Broadwater earlier this year to help brainstorm, create and form the plan, which they say would help spur public-private partnerships and revitalize the downtown district.
Shiflet, a former city council member who serves on the YEDC, said recent growth in Fort Mill will make its way west into the rest of the county.
“I know there are people interested in the (S.C. 161 area), there’s some potential there,” he said. “Several businesses have made the decision to expand in York. It’s my personal opinion, I know that Fort Mill and other places are getting pretty crowded, and you see evidence that people are moving. We don’t want quite as much traffic and congestion. We want to grow in a smart way.”
That’s where Broadwater comes in. The founder of Rock Hill web marketing firm Revenflo will host a series of three community input events this month to hear from area residents about concerns they may have about growth. The community input events will take place 6-8 p.m. Nov. 9, Nov. 28 and Nov. 30 with a public presentation on Nov. 21. Those wishing to attend are asked to register online at YorkSCForward.com.
Broadwater said by March he hopes to have “several meaningful projects” underway. Those projects could range from economic development to health and wellness issues to transportation, he said.
Broadwater said he wants to see York be intentional about its growth. He said he believes York can be a gateway between the commerce-heavy hubs of Rock Hill and Fort Mill and the rural, western portion of the county.
“The hope is that this will be an iterative plan that starts now and goes on forever,” Broadwater said. “It’s a real issue of growth in the county. It’s happening whether you want it or not.”
Shiflet said he thinks a new hotel could flourish in York’s downtown area “if the right investor came along.” He pointed to the recent construction of a new $24 million, 80,000-square-foot York County Government complex on South Congress Street as evidence that investment is flowing into the county seat.
“It’ll bring more opportunity,” he said. “The people there will want more places to eat and stores to visit.”
The York Economic Development Corporation is a private nonprofit organization of about 20 city leaders that works with the City of York to promote economic success. It includes high-profile city leaders, including the city manager, some city council members and community leaders throughout public and private sectors, Broadwater said.
York strategic plan
Community input sessions:
▪ 6-8 p.m. Nov. 9 at the Harold C. Johnson Elementary School
▪ 6-8 p.m. Nov. 28 at Trinity United Methodist Church
▪ 6-8 p.m. Nov. 30 at York Recreation Center
Community presentation of project:
▪ 6-8 p.m. Nov. 21 at Sylvia Theater