A group of residents earlier this year asked Greenwood County Council to consider developing a master plan for Lake Greenwood that would unify efforts to develop what they called Greenwood’s “hidden gem.” Those plans are moving forward as the county is now actively seeking a firm to complete the plan.
Several lake area residents, including Bill Dixon, approached council in March to present the idea of a master plan for the lake.
“We see a future that I’m not sure (Greenwood County) has seen,” Dixon said during a March administration and finance committee meeting. “What if we had 2,500 homes on the lake and a billion dollar tax base? How about 1,250 homes with half a billion dollar tax base? It’s possible, but not if we are fragmented with one developer doing one thing and another developer doing another. It’s got to be a community.”
Dixon held preliminary discussions with the Greenwood Chamber of Commerce and the Greenwood Partnership Alliance to gauge interest prior to bringing the idea before council. Heather Simmons Jones, CEO of the Greenwood Partnership Alliance, said she thought the plan would add value to what Greenwood County has to offer to prospective businesses.
“The lake is an asset for our county and region from many different perspectives: recreation, tourism, economic development, residential and commercial,” Jones said. “Having a unified plan only makes sense so that priorities are set and resources can be allocated. I support the plan and would also support the implementation of its findings.”
Councilman Steve Brown, who was the city manager for the Coty of Greenwood for nearly three decades, pointed to the buzz around Uptown Greenwood as an indicator that a master plan for the lake would also be effective.
“Everyone is so enthused about what is happening in Uptown (Greenwood),” Brown said. “It all started with that city center master plan 10 years ago that is still being implemented today. Out at the lake, a lot of people are doing a lot of things, but it’s fragmented and I think a fragmented approach is not good for us. I don’t think anyone else can pull it together except for county government. I would like to see us develop some sort of plan of action so that we can get it before us and take some sort of decisive action."
During a meeting may, city/county planner Phil Lindler addressed council on what the scope of the plan would include.
“We’ve had a number of studies on the lake, in the lake, about the lake,” Lindler said. “However, we have never had a comprehensive overview of what the lake is, what it is for our community, what potential the lake holds for Greenwood, Laurens and Newberry counties.”
The scope of work requested by Greenwood County will include natural resources and environment, tourism and quality of life, land use, economic development, and infrastructure and public services. The area to be studied is an area around Lake Greenwood which covers portions of Greenwood, Laurens and Newberry counties.
The county issued a Request for Qualification, or RFQ, for firms to submit their qualifications for developing the master plan. The RFQ submittals are due by 2 p.m. on Sep. 19. The county will select the most qualified firm and negotiate a price for the project, according to the RFQ documents. There is no timetable for council to select a firm.