Town halls attract more than 650 people

Colleton County residents discuss Promise Zone options in a July 15 town hall meeting.

More than 650 people from Promise Zone counties attended six town hall meetings in six counties in the southern tip of South Carolina.  The sessions, sponsored by the SouthernCarolina Alliance, provided people with information about the Promise Zone designation and allowed them to suggest priorities for the region and their counties.

  • Click here to see some of the county-by-county reports.

The meetings also got significant media coverage.  Here are some links and excerpts:

7/16:  Conversations begin in Promise Zone counties, The (Barnwell) People-Sentinel:

What sifted out of this exercise were top priorities including the need for advanced internet and technologies, a state-of-the art career center, improved infrastructure with an emphasis on roads, the ability to match local education/training with industry needs, improvements in health and social areas, and a lot of collaboration between communities, agencies and individuals.

“Collaboration is the key,” said [facilitator Andy] Brack. “We need to go about this in a smart, strategic way.”

7/15:  Input critical at Jasper Promise Zone meeting, Jasper County Sun Times

Jasper County Councilman and vice president of the Southern Carolina Alliance Marty Sauls said after identifying the community’s wants, the Alliance will figure out ways to address certain initiatives in grants. He said the categories for grants are endless. “It could be something to do with ACE, bringing more companies to our industrial parks, maybe having a centralized forensic lab for all law enforcement agencies in the neighboring counties to use,” Sauls said. “This designation gives us all kinds of opportunities to improve the quality of life for the entire Promise Zone.”

7/15:  Large crowd attends Promise Zone meeting, The (Walterboro) Press and Standard

7/12:  Attend meeting to learn about Promise Zone grants, The (Walterboro) Press and Standard

Having our area designated as a Promise Zone offers a huge opportunity for residents to tap into federal grants to be used to improve life in the Lowcountry. And these grants are not just for the “big guys.” Anyone with a program that can produce positive change here — church groups, non-profits, neighborhoods — has a chance to get their program funded.

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