Marion County sets eyes on the future as new strategic plan is developed

Pee Dee

MARION COUNTY, SC (WBTW) — A new strategic plan for Marion County is in the works and is set to help guide the county through the next five years.

“To get anywhere you want to go you have to have a plan,” Economic Development Director for Marion County Dr. Julie Norman said. “It is far more than just an economic development plan, because there are so many critical elements within the county that impact our ability to do economic development.”

Norman explained that while the effort- called Marion County 2025- has been spearheaded by the Marion County Development Commission and Marion County Progress, it is a collaborative project with many stakeholders in the community.

“All the municipalities, our chambers of commerce and frankly everyone that has an impact on how we’re able to do economic development,” she said, before rattling off examples like stakeholders from education, utilities, healthcare and others.

Goals she mentioned for the county are improving the quality of life and furthering the economy.

“And we can measure that by increasing our per capita income, lowering the unemployment rate, reducing poverty and attracting young people- I think that’s important,” Norman explained.

Those involved say this is the first time a plan of this level has been developed for Marion County.

“We’ve all said before, ‘Well I think I need this, I think I need that,’ but we didn’t use any data to back it up,” Board Chairman of Marion County Progress John Humler said. “It’s just what we felt. We will actually deep dive into data to determine what will take us forward five years.”

Humler said he’d like to see more jobs return to Marion County.

“We want Marion County again to be prosperous, where you’d want to raise your children, a place you’d want to live,” he said.

Humler said that funding for the project has come from a variety of places, including contributions from businesses, local governments, individual donations and state money.

“It is quite expensive to do this right,” he said.

He added that anyone who wants to have their voice heard about the plan should get in touch with the economic development office.

Norman said she hopes to have a finalized plan by the end of the year. Humler said it may not be ready until sometime next year.

Count on News13 for updates.

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