GEORGETOWN COUNTY, S.C. (WCBD) – A State of the County address hosted by the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce brought leaders from the City of Georgetown, The Town of Andrews, and the Town of Pawleys Island together to share accomplishments and challenges facing their small towns.
City of Georgetown Mayor Brendan Barber and Town Administrator Sandra Ydice kicked off the presentation by applauding the hard work of everyone in the county throughout the pandemic.
Proud of the city’s “A1” credit score, Mayor Barber discussed how to improve that through increasing income to the town.
The list of capital projects either in the works or already completed in the city includes a second water sedimentation basin, the completed Queen Street drainage project related to The George Hotel, completed sewer and water projects in the West End, and resuming the City Hall project.
Mayor Barber also discussed future developments for more housing.
“We’re on target to surpass the 2020 permits issued when we talk about multi-family dwellings and also residential development,” said Mayor Barber.
Some challenges facing Georgetown include a lack of affordable housing, workforce shortages, and an aging population.
“There are a number of folks that work in the city and the county, but live in Horry County or other surrounding areas.”
In the Town of Andrews, Mayor Frank McClary and Town Administrator Mauretta Dorsey shared that since the last State of the County address in 2019, 11 new businesses opened in town. There are ongoing drainage projects as well as a goal of getting easements to some residents to further solve stormwater issues.
Town leaders are working on a pocket part called Progress Park that Dorsey says will bring energy into that part of town. Additionally, Dorsey discussed updates to the town’s many lift stations. Some have been removed, and others were redone.
As far as challenges, Andrew’s is also in need of more affordable housing as well as more tourism to boost the economy and provide a better quality of life for residents.
On Pawley’s Island, the $15 million Beach Renourishment Project is the biggest accomplishment as of late. The town hired a company to put a dredge two miles offshore and extract 1.1 million cubic yards of sand and place it on the beaches.
Mayor Brian Henry says the project was well worth it as the beach is the town’s greatest asset and should be protected. He says $6 million came from a Parks, Recreation, and Tourism Grant and the other $9 million came from the town after two decades of saving up.
Looking towards the future, Mayor Henry has three main objectives: maintaining the beach, finding ways to handle flooding, dredging the creek. He says he and his fellow town leaders are brainstorming ways to pay for these projects.
As for Georgetown County as a whole, the County Administrator, Angela Christian, and the Chair of Georgetown County Council, Louis Morant, explained that many projects are ongoing and county leaders are working on making the area a hotspot.
“Georgetown County should not be the county you pass through, it should be the destination,” said Christian.
Stormwater projects, an airport expansion, new businesses, and finding new ways to connect with residents through digital platforms are all in the works in the county.
Christian says she would rate the county’s economy at a B+ because hospitality tax revenue, building permits, and deed stamps are all on the uphill, but she says windy conditions are ahead with inflation, workforce shortages, and the overall impact of the pandemic.
“We are starting to see, just like many of the employers here, real challenges with hiring folks. Training, retention, recruitment. Major issues we’re starting to see,” she explained.
Despite the challenges facing Georgetown County, work is being done to elevate it and create a tourist destination.
“My keyword for 2022 is momentum. We have started something special in Georgetown County in 2021. We are ready for the momentum to continue.”
County leaders are looking for your feedback on all things Georgetown County. If you have any ideas, solutions, or problems, fill out this survey to be a part of a long-term plan for the area. The county is accepting submissions until December 20th.