In early 2015, Kershaw County Council envisioned a plan capable of engaging residents and preparing the county for the future. Out of that discussion arose Kershaw County Council’s request to the Kershaw County Planning and Zoning Department to put together a plan called VisionKershaw 2030 with extensive community input.
The end product of a myriad of engagement strategies is a set of long-term goals and plans for Kershaw County that the vast majority of citizens recognize as their own and support. VisionKershaw 2030 is meant to be realized over a fifteen-year period.
Vision 2030 Goals:
At the heart of this visioning process was a robust gathering of community input, conducted to collect ideas and attitudes from county residents, community leaders and business owners. The public engagement process was widely advertised, through various methods including a dedicated website, press releases, direct mailings, flyers, newspaper articles and word of mouth. A concerted effort was made to reach a diverse segment of the population.
The process, conducted from July to December 2015, included over 32 outreach events conducted by the Santee-Lynches Regional Council of Governments and county planning staff. Events were held at volunteer fire stations, churches, government buildings, and schools. Also, staff offered workshops to a diverse cross section of organizations, including the local NAACP chapter and our youth leaders.
In each workshop, residents discussed and voted on their priorities. In addition to interviews conducted throughout the county, input was gathered by surveys that were distributed at events and other venues around the county as well as made available via a dedicated website. The survey gathered the views of 655 residents and business owners.
Additionally, materials were made available in Spanish, and staff was on-hand to answer questions during the annual multi-cultural festival. Over 170 individuals attended these events, which included presentations, idea-generating exercises, listening sessions, and workshop discussions.
Since its creation, all local municipalities have adopted VisionKershaw 2030. Kershaw County Council annually discusses aligning the budget with the vision plan. Numerous private enterprises and public entities reference the vision in planning and budgets.
Although its early in the 15-year plan, many actions have been accomplished, including improved existing recreation; planning for a new permanent downtown farmers market; reestablishment of the county’s Human Relations Board; completion of a detailed pedestrian, bike and greenway plan, finishing the first connector trail; passing a $129 million school board facility bond referendum and penny sales tax just two years after it failed; starting a mobile food pantry to serve food deserts; and expanding the number of EMS stations in underserved areas.
A list of future accomplishments include:
Timeline of Project: Since 2015
Initiator: Kershaw County Council
VisionKershaw 2030 Plan
Kershaw County, SC– 2018 AAC Winner: Presentation
Director, Planning and Zoning Department