Berkeley Chamber, leaders developing vision plan for county

Dwayne Cartwright

How do people who live in Berkeley County feel about it?

County leaders are trying to answer that question by asking for residents’ opinions, with a goal of creating a strategic plan to guide them into the future.

“We believe Berkeley County is at an important crossroads,” said Elaine Morgan, CEO of the Berkeley Chamber of Commerce. “We have vibrant neighborhoods, a strong business community, wonderful recreational attractions, and a great quality of life. We know our region also has challenges, and we believe the time is right to address those.”

The chamber is working with local government, education, health care, business and community leaders to create a vision plan for the county, the 35th fastest growing, population-wise, of the nation’s 3,194 counties, according to the U.S. Census.

“We were talking about how fast this county is growing and how diverse it is,” Morgan said. “We envision trying to do a look down from 10,000 feet. Where are we? What are the good things we need to feed more into and what are the things we need to address? Nobody has taken an all-inclusive look at these things.”

The first step of the process is asking current and former residents to participate in a survey that asks how they feel about everything from air quality to broadband speed, educational opportunities, the cost of living and the county’s diversity. The survey will be available until the end of January.

The chamber has hired Market Street Services to help them through the process, which will also include focus groups and interviews, Morgan said.

“This initiative will give us an understanding of the region’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and competitive standing,” said Dwayne Cartwright, president and CEO of Berkeley Electric Cooperative. “We are excited to begin and anticipate a vigorous effort from the community.”

The committee is chaired by Cartwright, state Sen. Paul Campbell, Jesica Mackey of the city of Goose Creek and Berkeley County Councilman Caldwell Pinckney.

Reach Brenda Rindge at 937-5713 or @brindge on Twitter.