Spartanburg Chamber reaches milestone in Vision Plan with Chattanooga trip


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The vision for building a foundation for a long-term community development strategy in Spartanburg County has taken another step forward.

According to the Spartanburg Area Chamber of Commerce, a group of 28 delegates from the county, including representatives from the Spartanburg Chamber, city of Spartanburg and other groups, recently visited Chattanooga, Tenn.

The trip, which occurred May 19-21, was part of the research and planning of the Spartanburg Vision Plan being led by Atlanta-based Market Street Services, a consulting firm that has helped cities like Nashville, Austin and Tulsa chart a path to prosperity.

“By the numbers, Chattanooga-Hamilton County is very similar to Spartanburg County,” said Allen Smith, president and CEO of the Spartanburg Chamber, in a statement. “Like Spartanburg, the spirit of partnership and collaboration is alive and well.”

The six-phase process began in February 2016 and will last approximately nine months.

A steering committee comprised of representatives from the public, private and nonprofit sectors are helping to guide the effort.

Market Street has already completed four phases, including stakeholder input and community assessment, with a community survey that resulted in over 3,100 responses.

This was the third-highest survey response rate on record for Market Street Services, according to the Spartanburg Chamber.

“We certainly don’t have all the answers and must continually seek new and innovative strategies,” Smith said. “This, among many other reasons, is why we took a fact-finding trip to Tennessee. We could learn a lot from some of their economic development successes and many of their approaches could be easily duplicated here in Spartanburg.”

The chamber said the Spartanburg Community Assessment will be officially presented to the community at a public event “One Vision, One Spartanburg” from 5 to 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, June 14, at Spartanburg Methodist College’s Gibbs Auditorium.

The event is free and open to the public. Seating is limited so registration is required, the chamber said.

“We now have a clear understanding of the needs of Spartanburg County, and the information from the community assessment is important to the overall goal of having a defined vision and implementation plan,” said John Miller, president and CEO of Spartanburg-based Denny’s Corp. and steering committee official, in a statement. “We would not have such critical data to move forward if not for the input of our dedicated community, and the steering committee is eager to share Market Street’s conclusions at the event.”

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