McCormick County joins regional economic development alliance

McCormick County, S.C., on Monday announced it has joined the Aiken, S.C.-based Economic Development Partnership. The town of McCormick, shown here, is the county seat. SPECIAL/MCCORMICK COUNTY CHAMBER OF COMMERCE

When it comes to regional economic development, McCormick County has decided to “shop local.”

 

The county announced Monday it joined the Economic Development Partnership, a regional alliance already representing nearby Edgefield and Saluda counties. The addition of McCormick County brings the Aiken -based group’s county membership to four.

The Clarks Hill/Thurmond Lake-bordering county previously was affiliated with Central SC Alliance, an eight-county economic development organization based in Columbia .

Economic Development Partnership Executive Director Will Williams said McCormick County wanted “to be affiliated with someone closer to home.”

“There was no real direct connectivity to Columbia,” Williams said. “They wanted to have true regionalism.”

McCormick County Council Chairman Charles Jennings said in a statement the county was “grateful for the opportunity to join forces” with the local group, and that “being a part of EDP will serve as a great asset” in bringing the county more jobs.

“We know this will be a most beneficial relationship as we have a lot in common with the other three member counties,” he said.

McCormick County’s economic development department, which oversees the marketing of its 42-acre industrial park, is headed by Thessa Smith. The county’s unemployment rate in August was 4.5 percent, mirroring the state and South Carolina averages. Census figures show more than 43 percent of its workforce commutes outside the county for employment.

The Economic Development Partnership was founded by the Aiken County Council in 1984 at the request of local business leaders. Edgefield County joined in 1988; Saluda County joined in 2014.

“This region has many allies in common,” Economic Development Partnership Chairman Gary Stooksbury said. “…We are about growing our region with new jobs and diversifying the tax base.”

Reach Damon Cline at (706) 823-3352 or damon.cline@augustachronicle.com.

 

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