Leaders explore Cool Carolina Cities

There is no doubt that ev­eryone wants to succeed in life and the same holds true for a community. The prob­lem, of course, is how. While there are different approaches to answer this question, one principle is certainly worth emphasizing – as much as possible, avoid learning things the hard way. To do so, it is essential to learn from the experience of others. The Aiken Chamber will facilitate learning from the best prac­tices of other communities in three upcoming one-day trips to three Cool Carolina Cities.

Chamber Board Chair Charlie Hartz and President/ CEO J. David Jameson will lead a group of 50 business, government, education and civic leaders on each trip. The group will visit Shelter Cove Towne Centre at Hilton Head Island, Hartsville and Charleston.


“Each of the communi­ties chosen has successfully implemented transformation changes resulting in im­proved economic and com­munity vitality,” said Hartz. “Our goal is to inspire action and support for changes oc­curring in Aiken.”

 

Shelter Cove Towne Centre, Hilton Head Island

The Shelter Cove Towne Centre was once a mall with a footprint similar to the Aik­en Mall. Developer Vic Mills and his team at Southeastern worked with the Town of Hil­ton Head in a public/private partnership to create a new lifestyle center. Shelter Cove Towne Centre is a unique lifestyle village consisting of retail, restaurant and enter­tainment space.

 

Southeastern has purchased the Aiken Mall property and will be developing a lifestyle center in Aiken. Presentations and conversations will focus on public/private partnerships and the successful collaboration they produced at Shelter Cove.  Aiken Mall developer Vic Mills will be present to discuss how Shelter Cove was redeveloped into the vibrant center it is now and how that formula will be applied to the Aiken Mall redevelopment.  City officials will be present to discuss their participation in the project.

 

Southeastern has purchased the Aiken Mall property and will be developing a lifestyle center in Aiken. Presenta­tions and conversations will focus on public/private part­nerships and the successful collaboration they produced at Shelter Cove. Aiken Mall developer Vic Mills will be present to discuss how Shel­ter Cove was redeveloped into the vibrant center it is now and how that formula will be applied to the Aiken Mall redevelopment. City officials will be present to discuss their participation in the project.

 

Hartsville

Hartsville is a vibrant com­munity that has developed a dynamic, yet whimsi­cal downtown. It has a reputation as an innovative business-friendly city. This is an area the Aiken busi­ness community feels needs improvement and Aiken of­ficials have decided to focus energy on making happen. Looking at the processes and programs Hartsville has suc­cessfully implemented can assist Aiken in its endeavors to become more business friendly.

 

Although Hartsville is 75 percent smaller than Aiken, it is leading the way in com­munity development. Discus­sions with area officials and citizens will include the Busi­ness Navigator, Main Street, the role of private investment in community development and visionary leadership.

The bus will travel through Camden on the way to Harts­ville and the group will be joined by current City Coun­cilor and former Camden Mayor Jeffrey Graham for a brief discussion on the need to take action and plan ahead in a community.  

 

Charleston

When business leaders get behind education – great things happen. Talent develop­ment will be the focus of the final one-day Cool Carolina Cities trip. A panel made up of Charleston Metro Chamber, business and school leaders, will illustrate just how pow­erful their Career Academy partnership has been to pro­viding real-world applications in the classroom that will meet current and future job de­mands in their community.

 

Business and industry in the Charleston area have worked diligently to be the leading force for educational oppor­tunity and economic com­petitiveness in their region. With initiatives that capture students in their high school careers through continuing education for the working professional these workforce initiatives are on target to meet the needs of Charleston’s future.

We know that education fu­els economic development and strengthening the workforce pipeline in Aiken is impera­tive to our future.

 

The Cool Carolina Cities tours are an outgrowth of the 2015 Aspirational Cities Tour which visited Greenville, South Carolina, as well as Winston-Salem and Raleigh, North Carolina, to learn about subject based topics. In all three locations the group dis­cussed community vision. A direct result of these discus­sions was the City Council’s action to develop a vision plan for Aiken. The group also visited a facility that will be similar to the Advanced Manufacturing Collaboration (AMC) that is proposed to be located on the USCA cam­pus. Another major topic was downtown development.

 

Cool Carolina Cities will be just as successful.

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