Pickens County Opens Its Eyes
Pickens County Vision 2025 is not about barking dogs or flickering streetlights, says David Spittal.
“This Vision 2025 process is allowing us to come together as a community and begin to talk about life in Pickens County, probably a lot farther into the future than we ever thought we would talk about it,” he says.
Civic and business leaders recently kicked off a community-wide planning exercise for Pickens County’s future. Around 70 people gathered in Liberty High School’s cafeteria to hear plans of the visioning process.
“We don’t have a Greenville; we probably don’t want it,” says Gerald Sweitzer, a retired nonprofit consultant and co-chairman of the steering committee with Spittal. “We really have to look at this as a way to preserve what we think is Pickens County.”
Vision 2025 will bring ideas, possibilities and goals to the table in areas of economic development, young professionals and infrastructure. It will also examine education, health care, environmental issues, retirement communities, art and culture.
The steering committee is made up of 40 community and business leaders, including Charles Dalton of Blue Ridge Electric Cooperative Inc., Roddey Gettys of Palmetto Health-Easley, Riggie Ridgeway of Peoples Bancorporation, Neal Workman of Trehel Corp. and Danny Youngblood of Youngblood Development Group.
Town hall meetings will take place March 6 at Pickens High School, March 8 at Easley High, March 13 at Liberty High and March 15 at Daniel High. All meetings are held from 6-8 p.m. in the schools’ cafeterias.
A series of focus group meetings with county leaders will also take place, along with individual interviews, Internet dialogue and mail-in cards.
A Web site, www.pickensvision2025.org, launched at 1:30 a.m. on Feb. 13. By 8:33 a.m., Sweitzer had received the first input form.
“It was very thoughtful and by (that) afternoon I got another one,” he says.
Chris Przirembel, vice president of research and economic development for Clemson University, says Pickens can learn a lot from Greenville’s visioning process.