Community Lessons Learned from the Strategic Leadership Visit
By Mike Stachura, Fayette Visioning Community Chair
I was honored to participate in the Fayette Chamber’s Strategic Leadership visit in late October to Greenville, Rock Hill and Fort Mill all in South Carolina and Sugar Hill, Georgia.
One of the biggest impacts I saw in these communities was that of a shared vision. In each of the four communities we visited, one feature was shared by all: civic, economic, and community leaders held a united vision for what their community could become if all worked together to achieve that dream. Their dreams needed concrete goals and plans. Their bright, talented, and engaged leadership came from all segments of their cities and towns and they were working together to make their vision become a new reality. The new businesses, housing, recreational, and civic developments reflected thoughtful planning, financing, and engagement of the local citizens.
The second takeaway I had from the trip was that all these communities embraced their diversity. These four communities –Greenville, Rock Hill, Fort Mill, SC and Sugar Hill, GA—faced tough decisions about their futures. Some of the issues included an aging population, deteriorating homes, lack of businesses, poor infrastructure and economic challenges. Yet, they forged unified development plans that included addressing the needs of each segment of their community — walkable streets and paths, live-work-play communities, new/innovative places for businesses to relocate, and recreational areas for all ages to enjoy. Plus they are using their creative plans to welcome tourists, visitors and guests. All three of the South Carolina communities have become welcome weekend tourist destinations for NC, SC, and GA residents. Sugar Hill is controlling its destiny to build a beautiful place for its constituents.
We look forward to taking the ideas we were exposed to and figuring out how to make the best ones work in Fayette County.